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A Model of corporate donations to open source under hardware–software complementarity

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  • Di Gaetano, Luigi

Abstract

In recent years there has been an increasing diffusion of open source projects, as well as an increasing interest among scholars on the topic. Open source software (OSS) is developed by communities of programmers and users, usually sponsored by private firms; OSS is available in the public domain and redistributed for free. In this paper a model of open and closed source software (CSS) competition will be presented. Hardware and software are complement goods and OSS is financed by hardware firms. There is a differentiated oligopoly of hardware–software bundles, in which firms compete in prices. Results are several; positive (hardware firm) contributions are possible, although, they are not socially optimal. OSS availability has a positive impact on social welfare, and on hardware firms’ profits and prices. CSS firm’s price and profits decrease when OSS is available. The effect on the price of the hardware–CSS bundle depends on demand own–price elasticity. The model can explain the increasing participation in open source projects of embedded device producers. Hardware firms’ incentives to contribute to OSS development process are greater when there is a relatively intensive competition among producers. Hardware firms use OSS to decrease the software monopolist’s market power.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 39849.

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Date of creation: 04 Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:39849

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Keywords: Open source; software markets; differentiated oligopoly; complement goods;

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  1. Jay Pil Choi, 2008. "MERGERS WITH BUNDLING IN COMPLEMENTARY MARKETS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 553-577, 09.
  2. Jurgen Bitzer & Philipp Schroder, 2007. "Open Source Software, Competition and Innovation," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(5), pages 461-476.
  3. Cellini, Roberto & Lambertini, Luca & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I. P., 2004. "Welfare in a differentiated oligopoly with free entry: a cautionary note," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 125-133, June.
  4. Bitzer, Jurgen, 2004. "Commercial versus open source software: the role of product heterogeneity in competition," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 369-381, December.
  5. Economides, Nicholas & Salop, Steven C, 1992. "Competition and Integration among Complements, and Network Market Structure," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 105-23, March.
  6. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2005. "The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 99-120, Spring.
  7. Schmidt, Klaus M. & Schnitzer, Monika, 2003. "Public Subsidies for Open Source? Some Economic Policy Issues of the Software Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 3793, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Dalle, Jean-Michel & Jullien, Nicolas, 2003. "'Libre' software: turning fads into institutions?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-11, January.
  9. Ramon Casadesus-Masanell & Pankaj Ghemawat, 2006. "Dynamic Mixed Duopoly: A Model Motivated by Linux vs. Windows," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(7), pages 1072-1084, July.
  10. Lanzi, Diego, 2009. "Competition and open source with perfect software compatibility," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 192-200, August.
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