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Does a Platform Monopolist Want Competition?

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  • Andras Niedermayer

Abstract

We consider a software vendor first selling a monopoly platform and then an application running on this platform. He may face competition by an entrant in the applications market. The platform monopolist can benefit from competition for three reasons. First, his profits from the platform increase. Second, competition serves as a credible commitment to lower prices for applications. Third, higher expected product diversity may lead to higher demand for his application. Results carry over to non-software platforms and, partially, to upstream and downstream firms. The model also explains why Microsoft Office is priced significantly higher than Microsoft's operating system.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft in its series Diskussionsschriften with number dp0604.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp0604

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Keywords: Platforms; entry; complementary goods; price commitment; product diversity; Microsoft; vertical integration; two-sided markets;

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  1. Mark Armstrong, 2005. "Competition in Two-Sided Markets," Industrial Organization 0505009, EconWPA.
  2. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," IDEI Working Papers 152, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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  6. Farrell, Joseph & Gallini, Nancy T, 1988. "Second-Sourcing as a Commitment: Monopoly Incentives to Attract Competition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(4), pages 673-94, November.
  7. Beggs, Alan W, 1994. "Mergers and Malls," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 419-28, December.
  8. Economides, Nicholas, 1996. "Network externalities, complementarities, and invitations to enter," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 211-233, September.
  9. David S. Evans & Andrei Hagiu & Richard Schmalensee, 2004. "A Survey Of The Economic Role Of Software Platforms In Computer - Based Industries," Discussion papers 04032, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  10. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2003. " Chicken & Egg: Competition among Intermediation Service Providers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 309-28, Summer.
  11. Stanley M. Besen & Joseph Farrell, 1994. "Choosing How to Compete: Strategies and Tactics in Standardization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 117-131, Spring.
  12. Simon Loertscher & Yves Schneider, 2005. "Switching Costs, Firm Size, and Market Structure," SOI - Working Papers 0508, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
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