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Vertical Mergers in Platform Markets

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  • Pouyet, Jérôme
  • Trégouët, Thomas

Abstract

We analyze the competitive impact of vertical integration between a platform and a manufacturer when platforms provide operating systems for devices sold by manufacturers to customers, and, customers care about the applications developed for the operating systems. Two-sided network effects between customers and developers create strategic substitutability between manufacturers' prices. When it brings efficiency gains, vertical integration increases consumer surplus, is not profitable when network effects are strong, and, benefits the non-integrated manufacturer. When developers bear a cost to make their applications available on a platform, manufacturers boost the participation of developers by affiliating with the same platform. This creates some market power for the integrated firm and vertical integration then harms consumers, is always profitable, and, leads to foreclosure. Introducing developer fees highlights that not only the level, but also the structure of indirect network effects matter for the competitive analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Pouyet, Jérôme & Trégouët, Thomas, 2016. "Vertical Mergers in Platform Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 11703, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11703
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robin Lee & Michael Whinston & Ali Yurukoglu & Gregory Crawford, 2013. "The Welfare Effects of Vertical Integration in Multichannel Television Markets," 2013 Meeting Papers 81, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Normann, Hans-Theo, 2009. "Vertical integration, raising rivals' costs and upstream collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 461-480, May.
    3. Simon Loertscher & Markus Reisinger, 2014. "Market structure and the competitive effects of vertical integration," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, pages 471-494.
    4. Schutz, Nicolas, 2013. "Competition with Exclusive Contracts in Vertically Related Markets: An Equilibrium Non-Existence Result," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 439, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    5. Johan Hombert & Jérôme Pouyet & Nicolas Schutz, 2009. "Anticompetitive vertical mergers waves," PSE Working Papers hal-00440143, HAL.
    6. Jérôme Pouyet & Thomas Trégouët, 2016. "Vertical Mergers in Platform Markets," PSE Working Papers halshs-01410077, HAL.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pouyet, Jérôme & Trégouët, Thomas, 2016. "Vertical Mergers in Platform Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 11703, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    foreclosure; network effects; Two-sided markets; vertical integration;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General

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