Digital platforms (sharing platforms, search engines, social networks, e-commerce platforms, etc.), as well as their platform ecosystems, are currently transforming entire industries and types of socio-economic activity, and becoming drivers of economic growth, innovation and competition. The goal of this study is to understand the essence and determine the unique features of digital platforms, as well as features and development trends of global and Russian platform companies. The article provides definitions of digital platform, platform business model, platform ecosystem. The characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, opportunities and threats associated with the activities of digital platforms have been considered. One of the main advantages of the platform-based business model is that it provides direct interaction and exchange between subjects and reduces their transaction and other costs. One of the main problems associated with digital platforms is ensuring confidentiality of the personal data collected and processed by the platforms. Digital platforms are widely dispersed geographically, with most platform companies based in the United States and China. The study shows that the rating of the largest world companies over the past ten years has changed significantly. Most of the largest commodity holdings have been replaced by platform companies that have reached incredible values in terms of market capitalization. Impressive compound annual growth rates of ecosystems of the largest digital platforms have been analyzed. The study gives examples of global and Russian platforms operating in various forms and directions. The positions of Russian platform companies in the Russian and global markets have been determined. Large Russian digital platforms can compete with global digital platforms in some platform markets in Russia. However, their positions in global markets are weak. We have proposed a number of effective measures aimed at developing a platform economy in Russia. It is also proposed to integrate the Government as a Platform concept at the state level in Russia. Rapid development of mobile and digital technologies predicted in the coming years, as well as unique features of the platform-based business models create the fundamental prerequisites for further active development of the platform economy.