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FLOSS in an industrial economics perspective

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  • Nicolas JULLIEN

    ()
    (LUSSI - Département Logique des Usages, Sciences sociales et Sciences de l'Information - Institut Mines-Télécom - Télécom Bretagne - Université Européenne de Bretagne (UEB), M@rsouin - Môle armoricain de recherche sur la société de l'information et les usages d'internet - Groupement d'intérêt scientifique)

  • Jean-Benoît Zimmermann

    (GREQAM - Groupement de recherche en économie quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - .)

Abstract

The spread of free/libre open source software (FLOSS) represents one of the most important developments in the Information Technology (IT) industry in recent years. Within the context of a knowledge-based economy, this sort of approach appears exemplary for a growing number of industrial activities in which the amount of knowledge that has to be mastered is too large for a single agent, however powerful. Considering knowledge as a mutual resource requires a rethinking of the value chain concept, since cash flow is derived from use of the knowledge base (services, complementary products), not from the knowledge itself. In a classical industrial economics perspective, this reshaping of the value chain must be analyzed not only at the global ecosystem level (who produces what, between firms and universities, users and producers, etc.), but also at the industry level (once the industry’s role has been identified, how does it organize itself?). Various points of view have been proposed, but researchers have generally studied either the involvement of firms in a community or the integration of FLOSS into their market strategy, but not both. In this article, we argue for a more structured and global analysis, based on the tools of industrial economics, and thus starting from the basic conditions of the computer market and of the buyers’ competence in software development (the “dominant user’s skill”). This conceptual framework helps to distinguish the different types of corporate behavior we see in the FLOSS ecosystem and more specifically their varying degrees of involvement.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00739692.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Publication status: Published, Revue d'Economie Industrielle, 2011, 136, 1-27
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00739692

Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00739692
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Related research

Keywords: Industrial economics; Dominant user's skill; Asset specificity; Open source software;

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References

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  1. Joachim Henkel, 2006. "The Jukebox Mode of Innovation - a Model of Commercial Open Source Development," DRUID Working Papers 06-25, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
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  3. Teece, David J., 1986. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 285-305, December.
  4. Nicolas Jullien & Jean-Benoît Zimmermann, 2009. "Firms' contribution to open source software and the dominant user skill," Working Papers halshs-00449534, HAL.
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  8. Jean-Benoît Zimmermann, 1995. "Le concept de grappes technologiques. Un cadre formel," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(5), pages 1263-1295.
  9. Dahlander, Linus & Magnusson, Mats G., 2005. "Relationships between open source software companies and communities: Observations from Nordic firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 481-493, May.
  10. Richard N. Langlois & David C. Mowery, 1995. "The Federal Government Role in the Development of the American Software Industry: An Assessment," Industrial Organization, EconWPA 9503001, EconWPA.
  11. Sudipto Bhattacharya & Sergei Guriev, 2004. "Patents vs Trade Secrets: Knowledge Licensing and Spillover," Working Papers w0064, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR), revised Feb 2006.
  12. Eric von Hippel, 1986. "Lead Users: A Source of Novel Product Concepts," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 32(7), pages 791-805, July.
  13. Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-31, March.
  14. Bruce Kogut & Anca Metiu, 2001. "Open-Source Software Development and Distributed Innovation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 248-264, Summer.
  15. Nicolas Jullien & Jean-Benoît Zimmermann, 2011. "Floss firms, users and communities: a viable match?," Post-Print halshs-00449535, HAL.
  16. Jacques De Bandt, 1998. "Les marchés de services informationnels : quelles garanties pour le client, consommateur ou partenaire ?," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 86(1), pages 61-84.
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