IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Optimal Bundling of Technological Products with Network Externality


  • Ashutosh Prasad

    () (School of Management, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas 75080)

  • R. Venkatesh

    () (Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260)

  • Vijay Mahajan

    () (McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712)


For many high-tech and Internet-related products, utility to consumers depends in part on the size of the user base, a phenomenon called network externality. A firm with a portfolio of these and other products--that are often asymmetric in their degree of network externality or marginal cost--may have to look beyond the traditional strategies of pure components, pure bundling, and mixed bundling. One such strategic alternative in a two-product case would be a so-called mixed bundling-1 under which the bundle and product 1 are offered, but the other product can only be purchased in a bundled form. The purpose of this study is to compare and contrast the impact of such asymmetry or symmetry in (direct) network externality and cost on the choice of bundling strategies. We model a monopolist firm that has a product in each of two categories and faces heterogeneous consumers. Results suggest that pure bundling is more profitable when both products have low marginal costs or high network externality whereas pure components or mixed bundling-1 is more profitable when the products diverge in their costs and network externality (e.g., only one product has network externality). Traditional mixed bundling is optimal in other instances.

Suggested Citation

  • Ashutosh Prasad & R. Venkatesh & Vijay Mahajan, 2010. "Optimal Bundling of Technological Products with Network Externality," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(12), pages 2224-2236, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:56:y:2010:i:12:p:2224-2236

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schmalensee, Richard, 1984. "Gaussian Demand and Commodity Bundling," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(1), pages 211-230, January.
    2. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 822-841, August.
    3. Choi, Jay Pil, 1994. "Network Externality, Compatibility Choice, and Planned Obsolescence," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 167-182, June.
    4. Salinger, Michael A, 1995. "A Graphical Analysis of Bundling," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(1), pages 85-98, January.
    5. Carbajo, Jose & de Meza, David & Seidmann, Daniel J, 1990. "A Strategic Motivation for Commodity Bundling," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(3), pages 283-298, March.
    6. Bikram Ghosh & Subramanian Balachander, 2007. "Research Note--Competitive Bundling and Counterbundling with Generalist and Specialist Firms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(1), pages 159-168, January.
    7. Yannis Bakos & Erik Brynjolfsson, 1999. "Bundling Information Goods: Pricing, Profits, and Efficiency," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(12), pages 1613-1630, 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. Farrell, Joseph & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "Installed Base and Compatibility: Innovation, Product Preannouncements, and Predation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 940-955, December.
    10. Chen, Yongmin, 1997. "Equilibrium Product Bundling," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(1), pages 85-103, January.
    11. R. Venkatesh & Wagner Kamakura, 2003. "Optimal Bundling and Pricing under a Monopoly: Contrasting Complements and Substitutes from Independently Valued Products," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76(2), pages 211-232, April.
    12. Matutes, Carmen & Regibeau, Pierre, 1992. "Compatibility and Bundling of Complementary Goods in a Duopoly," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 37-54, March.
    13. Haruvy, Ernan & Prasad, Ashutosh, 1998. "Optimal product strategies in the presence of network externalities," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 489-499, December.
    14. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-440, June.
    15. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan & Michael D. Whinston, 1989. "Multiproduct Monopoly, Commodity Bundling, and Correlation of Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 371-383.
    16. Praveen K. Kopalle & Aradhna Krishna & João L. Assunção, 1999. "The role of market expansion on equilibrium bundling strategies," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(7), pages 365-377.
    17. William James Adams & Janet L. Yellen, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-498.
    18. Barry Nalebuff, 2004. "Bundling as an Entry Barrier," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 159-187.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Hemant K. Bhargava, 2012. "Retailer-Driven Product Bundling in a Distribution Channel," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(6), pages 1014-1021, November.
    2. repec:wsi:apjorx:v:34:y:2017:i:02:n:s0217595917500075 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:bla:manchs:v:85:y:2017:i:1:p:13-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Yi, Yuyin & Yang, Haishen, 2017. "Wholesale pricing and evolutionary stable strategies of retailers under network externality," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 259(1), pages 37-47.
    5. Liu, Zhiyong & Li, Minqiang & Kou, Jisong, 2015. "Selling information products: Sale channel selection and versioning strategy with network externality," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 1-10.
    6. 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.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:56:y:2010:i:12:p:2224-2236. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.