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Product Strategy for Innovators in Markets with Network Effects

Author

Listed:
  • Baohong Sun

    () (Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514)

  • Jinhong Xie

    () (Warrington College of Business Administration, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32616)

  • H. Henry Cao

    () (Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514)

Abstract

This paper examines four alternative product strategies available to an innovating firm in markets with network effects: single-product monopoly, technology licensing, product-line extension, and a combination of licensing and product-line extension. We address three questions. First, what factors affect the attractiveness of each of the four product strategies? Second, under what conditions will any particular strategy dominate the others? Third, what is the impact of licensing fees on the profitability of a licensing strategy? We show that offering a product line utilizes consumer heterogeneity to increase the total user base and is superior to free licensing when the innovator's cost of producing a low-quality product is low and network effects are weak. However, because of the advantage of licensing in generating a larger installed base, free licensing can dominate line extension when network effects are strong, even if the innovator suffers no cost disadvantage compared to the competitor. We also show that paid licensing trumps free licensing when the clone product has a high quality or a low cost, regardless of network effect. Finally, strong network effects make a lump-sum fee more profitable than a royalty fee (or a combination of both) because a royalty fee reduces the licensee's production.

Suggested Citation

  • Baohong Sun & Jinhong Xie & H. Henry Cao, 2004. "Product Strategy for Innovators in Markets with Network Effects," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(2), pages 243-254, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:23:y:2004:i:2:p:243-254
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.1040.0058
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. He, Qiao-Chu, 2017. "Virtual items trade in online social games," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 1-14.
    2. Yang, Jun & Mai, Enping (Shirley), 2010. "Experiential goods with network externalities effects: An empirical study of online rating system," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(9-10), pages 1050-1057, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Steven M. Shugan, 2004. "Editorial: Consulting, Research, and Consulting Research," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(2), pages 173-179.
    5. John Hauser & Gerard J. Tellis & Abbie Griffin, 2006. "Research on Innovation: A Review and Agenda for," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(6), pages 687-717, 11-12.
    6. Qi Wang & Huazhong Zhao & Jinhong Xie, 2016. "Intra-Standard Competition: The Joint Impact of an Installed-User Base and a Supporting-Firm Base in Markets with Network Effects," Customer Needs and Solutions, Springer;Institute for Sustainable Innovation and Growth (iSIG), vol. 3(3), pages 159-174, December.
    7. Hung-Ken Chien & C. Y. Cyrus Chu, 2008. "Sale or Lease? Durable-Goods Monopoly with Network Effects," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(6), pages 1012-1019, 11-12.
    8. Steven M. Shugan, 2005. "Comments on Competitive Responsiveness," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(1), pages 3-7.
    9. Alexei Parakhonyak & Nick Vikander, 2013. "Optimal Sales Schemes for Network Goods," Discussion Papers 13-11, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    10. Steven M. Shugan, 2006. "Editorial: Errors in the Variables, Unobserved Heterogeneity, and Other Ways of Hiding Statistical Error," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(3), pages 203-216, 05-06.
    11. Dominique Olié Lauga & Elie Ofek, 2009. "Market Research and Innovation Strategy in a Duopoly," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(2), pages 373-396, 03-04.
    12. Juanjuan Zhang, 2010. "The Sound of Silence: Observational Learning in the U.S. Kidney Market," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(2), pages 315-335, 03-04.
    13. Donald Lehmann & Mercedes Esteban-Bravo, 2006. "When giving some away makes sense to jump-start the diffusion process," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 243-254, December.
    14. Bing Jing, 2006. "On the Profitability of Firms in a Differentiated Industry," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(3), pages 248-259, 05-06.
    15. Steven M. Shugan, 2006. "—Antibusiness Movies and Folk Marketing," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(6), pages 681-685, 11-12.
    16. Steven M. Shugan, 2005. "Brand Loyalty Programs: Are They Shams?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(2), pages 185-193.
    17. Liang Guo, 2006. "Consumption Flexibility, Product Configuration, and Market Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(2), pages 116-130, 03-04.
    18. Stephen M. Gilbert & Sreelata Jonnalagedda, 2011. "Durable Products, Time Inconsistency, and Lock-in," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(9), pages 1655-1670, September.
    19. Praveen K. Kopalle & Donald R. Lehmann, 2006. "Setting Quality Expectations When Entering a Market: What Should the Promise Be?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(1), pages 8-24, 01-02.
    20. Sanjay Jain, 2008. "Digital Piracy: A Competitive Analysis," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(4), pages 610-626, 07-08.
    21. repec:eee:ejores:v:267:y:2018:i:2:p:570-584 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Xiaotong Li, 2005. "Cheap Talk and Bogus Network Externalities in the Emerging Technology Market," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(4), pages 531-543, October.
    23. Etziony Amir & Weiss Avi, 2012. "Inviting Competition to Achieve Critical Mass," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-22, June.
    24. Tingting He & Dmitri Kuksov & Chakravarthi Narasimhan, 2012. "Intraconnectivity and Interconnectivity: When Value Creation May Reduce Profits," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(4), pages 587-602, July.

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