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When Does a Firm Support Substitute Open Source Programming?

  • Mikko Mustonen
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    Software firms are observed to support programmers' communities, which develop rival open source programs. A firm selling a copyright program has an incentive to support substitute copyleft programming when support creates compatibility between the programs and programs exhibit network effects. Costly compatibility benefits the firm as its consumers gain access to the community's services but may also hurt the firm because it cannot profit from the valuation difference between incompatible networks. The incentive arises under a weak network effect even when the consumers' benefit is small. Standardization and enlarging the open source programmers' community do not always increase welfare. Copyright Blackwell Publishing 2005.

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    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Economics & Management Strategy.

    Volume (Year): 14 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 (03)
    Pages: 121-139

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:14:y:2005:i:1:p:121-139
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    1. Banerjee, Dyuti S., 2003. "Software piracy: a strategic analysis and policy instruments," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 97-127, January.
    2. Justin Pappas Johnson, 2002. "Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 637-662, December.
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    4. Koboldt, Christian, 1995. "Intellectual Property and Optimal Copyright Protection," CSLE Discussion Paper Series 95-01, Saarland University, CSLE - Center for the Study of Law and Economics.
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    6. Yoon, Kiho, 2002. "The optimal level of copyright protection," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 327-348, September.
    7. de Palma, Andre & Leruth, Luc, 1996. "Variable willingness to pay for network externalities with strategic standardization decisions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 235-251, September.
    8. 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.
    9. Franke, Nikolaus & Hippel, Eric von, 2003. "Satisfying heterogeneous user needs via innovation toolkits: the case of Apache security software," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1199-1215, July.
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