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Mobile application pricing


  • Gans, Joshua S.


This paper examines the pricing of mobile applications when application providers can either supply consumers directly or through a mobile platform (such as a smart phone or tablet). It is demonstrated that when platform access (i.e., purchasing a device) takes place in advance of application pricing, a non-trivial unravelling problem exists that rules out selling platform access at a positive price. Consequently, all platform revenues come from sharing application provider revenues. It is demonstrated that several restrictive conditions on application providers, such as most favoured customer clauses, can allow the platform provider to earn more profits and charge a positive access price increasing the likelihood the platform is provided.

Suggested Citation

  • Gans, Joshua S., 2012. "Mobile application pricing," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 52-59.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:24:y:2012:i:1:p:52-59
    DOI: 10.1016/j.infoecopol.2012.01.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    2. Michael Waldman, 2010. "Competition, Monopoly, and Aftermarkets," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 54-91, April.
    3. Dennis W. Carlton & Joshua S. Gans & Michael Waldman, 2010. "Why Tie a Product Consumers Do Not Use?," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 85-105, August.
    4. Simon P. Anderson & Joshua S. Gans, 2011. "Platform Siphoning: Ad-Avoidance and Media Content," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 1-34, November.
    5. Gans, Joshua S., 2011. "Remedies for tying in computer applications," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 505-512, September.
    6. Andrei Hagiu, 2009. "Two-Sided Platforms: Product Variety and Pricing Structures," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 1011-1043, December.
    7. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-460, March.
    8. Hermalin, Benjamin E. & Katz, Michael L., 2007. "The economics of product-line restrictions with an application to the network neutrality debate," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 215-248, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gokhan Guven & Eren Inci & Antonio Russo, 2017. "Apparent Competition in Two-Sided Platforms," CESifo Working Paper Series 6660, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Flores-Fillol, Ricardo & Iozzi, Alberto & Valletti, Tommaso, 2014. "Platform pricing and consumer foresight: The case of airports," Working Papers 2072/242278, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    3. repec:kap:qmktec:v:15:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11129-017-9183-z is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Miao, Chun-Hui, 2016. "Licensing a technology standard," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 33-61.
    5. Avinadav, Tal & Chernonog, Tatyana & Perlman, Yael, 2015. "The effect of risk sensitivity on a supply chain of mobile applications under a consignment contract with revenue sharing and quality investment," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 31-40.
    6. Avinadav, Tal & Chernonog, Tatyana & Perlman, Yael, 2015. "Consignment contract for mobile apps between a single retailer and competitive developers with different risk attitudes," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 246(3), pages 949-957.
    7. Foros, Øystein & Kind, Hans Jarle & Shaffer, Greg, 2015. "Apple's Agency Model and the Role of Resale Price Maintenance," Discussion Papers 2015/32, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    8. Andre Boik & Kenneth S. Corts, 2016. "The Effects of Platform Most-Favored-Nation Clauses on Competition and Entry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(1), pages 105-134.
    9. Oystein Foros & Hans Jarle Kind & Greg Shaffer, 2013. "Turning the Page on Business Formats for Digital Platforms: Does Apple's Agency Model Soften Competition?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4362, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    Platform; Two-sided markets; Complements; Most favoured customer clause;

    JEL classification:

    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises


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