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The Control of Porting in Two-Sided Markets

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  • Pollock, Rufus

Abstract

A sizable literature has grown up in recent years focusing on two-sided markets in which economies of scale combined with complementarities between a platform and its associated `software' or `services' can generate indirect network effects (that is positive feedback between the number of consumers using that platform and the utility of an individual consumer). In this paper we introduce a model of `porting' in such markets where porting denotes the conversion of `software' or `services' developed for one platform to run on another. Focusing on the case where a dominant platform exists we investigate the impact on equilibrium and the consequences for welfare of the ability to control porting. Specifically, we show that the welfare costs associated with the `control of porting' may be more significant than those arising from pricing alone. This model and its associated results are of particular relevance because of the light they shed on debates about the motivations and effects of actions by a dominant platform owner. Recent examples of such debates include those about Microsoft's behaviour both in relation to its operating system and its media player, Apple's behaviour in relation to its DRM and iTunes platform, and Ebay's use of the cyber-trespass doctrine to prevent access to its site.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 5023.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
Date of revision: Jun 2007
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5023

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Keywords: Network Effects; Two-Sided Markets; Porting; Antitrust; Competition;

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References

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  1. Richard J. Gilbert & Michael L. Katz, 2001. "An Economist's Guide to U.S. v. Microsoft," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 25-44, Spring.
  2. Jay Pil Choi, 2007. "Tying in Two-Sided Markets with Multi-Homing," CESifo Working Paper Series 2073, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Church, Jeffrey & Gandal, Neil, 1992. "Network Effects, Software Provision, and Standardization," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 85-103, March.
  4. Benjamin Klein, 2001. "The Microsoft Case: What Can a Dominant Firm Do to Defend Its Market Position?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 45-62, Spring.
  5. Economides, Nicholas, 1989. "Symmetric equilibrium existence and optimality in differentiated product markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 178-194, February.
  6. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Two-Sided Markets : A Progress Report," IDEI Working Papers 275, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  7. Choi, Jay Pil, 1997. "The Provision of (Two-Way) Converters in the Transition Process to a New Incompatible Technology," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 139-53, June.
  8. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 990-1029, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. Pollock, Rufus, 2008. "Is Google the next Microsoft? Competition, Welfare and Regulation in Internet Search," MPRA Paper 8885, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Pollock, R., 2009. "General Network Effects and Welfare," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0915, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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