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Competing Networks and Proprietary Standards: The Case of Quadraphonic Sound

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  • Postrel, Steven R

Abstract

Quadraphonic audio systems failed to replace stereo in the 1970s despite backing from all the major manufacturers and recording houses. Network externalities played a significant role in this episode, and the author uses the installed-base model of J. Farrell and G. Saloner (1986) to explain quad's failure. The author finds that the introduction of competing incompatible quadraphonic systems hindered the development of a viable user base, and he argues that the systems' sponsors introduced their products in a technologically premature state in order to prevent one another from preemptively establishing the quad standard. As a result, self-fulfilling consumer and retailer expectations doomed quadraphonic sound. Copyright 1990 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Postrel, Steven R, 1990. "Competing Networks and Proprietary Standards: The Case of Quadraphonic Sound," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(2), pages 169-185, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jindec:v:39:y:1990:i:2:p:169-85
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    Cited by:

    1. Geroski, P. A., 2000. "Models of technology diffusion," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 603-625, April.
    2. Heli Koski & Tobias Kretschmer, 2004. "Entry, Standards and Competition: Firm Strategies and the Diffusion of Mobile Telephony," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 26(1), pages 89-113, November.
    3. Tobias Kretschmer & Katrin Muehlfeld, 2004. "Co-opetition in Standard-Setting: The Case of the Compact Disc," Working Papers 04-14, NET Institute, revised Oct 2004.
    4. Heli Koski & Tobias Kretschmer, 2004. "Survey on Competing in Network Industries: Firm Strategies, Market Outcomes, and Policy Implications," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-31, March.
    5. Kretschmer, Tobias & Muehlfeld, Katrin, 2006. "Co-opetition and prelaunch in standard-setting for developing technologies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19843, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Chaim FERSHTMAN & Neil GANDAL, 2012. "Migration to the Cloud Ecosystem: Ushering in a New Generation of Platform Competition," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(85), pages 109-123, 1st quart.
    7. Angelique Augereau & Shane Greenstein & Marc Rysman, 2004. "Coordination vs. Differentiation in a Standards War: 56K Modems," NBER Working Papers 10334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Filomena Garcia & Cecilia Vergari, 2016. "Revealing Incentives for Compatibility Provision in Vertically Differentiated Network Industries," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(3), pages 720-749, September.
    9. K├Ânig, Raina & Stephan, Michael, 2007. "Market take-off in systemic industries: The early industry life cycle stage in the mobile payment industry," Discussion Papers on Strategy and Innovation 07-03, Philipps-University Marburg, Department of Technology and Innovation Management (TIM).
    10. Tobias Kretschmer, 2008. "SPLINTERING AND INERTIA IN NETWORK INDUSTRIES -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(4), pages 685-706, December.
    11. Stremersch, S. & Tellis, G.J. & Franses, Ph.H.B.F. & Binken, J.L.G., 2007. "Indirect Network Effects in New Product Growth," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2007-019-MKT, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    12. Marc Rysman, 2003. "Differentiation Across Standards and Adoption Failure in 56K Modems," Working Papers 03-12, NET Institute, revised Dec 2003.
    13. Fershtman, Chaim & Gandal, Neil, 2012. "Migration to the Cloud Ecosystem: Ushering in a New Generation of Platform Competition," Foerder Institute for Economic Research Working Papers 275789, Tel-Aviv University > Foerder Institute for Economic Research.
    14. Roberto Fontana, 2003. "Rapid Technical Change and the Speed of Lock-in: Standard Battles in the Local Area Network Industry in the 1990s," KITeS Working Papers 146, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jul 2003.
    15. Lea, Gary & Hall, Peter, 2004. "Standards and intellectual property rights: an economic and legal perspective," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 67-89, March.
    16. Kerstan, Sven & Kretschmer, Tobias & Muehlfeld, Katrin, 2012. "The dynamics of pre-market standardization," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 105-119.

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