One-Way Essential Complements
While competition between firms producing substitutes is well understood, less is known about rivalry between complementors. We study the interaction between firms in markets with one-way essential complements. One good is essential to the use of the other but not vice versa, as arises with an operating system and applications. Our interest is in the division of surplus between the two goods and the related incentive for firms to create complements to an essential good. Formally, we study a two-good model where consumers value A alone, but can only enjoy B if they also purchase A. When one firm sells A and another sells B, the firm that sells B earns a majority of the value it creates. However, if the A firm were to buy the B firm, it would optimally charge zero for B, provided marginal costs are zero and the average value of B is small relative to A. Hence, absent strong antitrust or intellectual property protections, the A firm can leverage its monopoly into B costlessly by producing a competing version of B and giving it away. For example, Microsoft provided Internet Explorer as a free substitute for Netscape; in our model, this maximizes Microsoft's joint monopoly profits. Furthermore, Microsoft has no incentive to raise prices, even if all browser competition exits. This may seem surprising since it runs counter to the traditional gains from price discrimination and versioning. We also show that a essential monopolist has no incentive to degrade rival complementary products, which suggests that a monopoly internet service provider will offer net neutrality. There are other means for the essential A monopolist to capture surplus from B. We consider the incentive to add a surcharge (or subsidy) to the price of B, or to act as a Stackelberg leader. We find a small gain from pricing first, but much greater profits from adding a surcharge to the price of B. The potential for A to capture B's surplus highlights the challenges facing a firm whose product depends on an essential good.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA|
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.yale.edu/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Myles,Gareth D., 1995. "Public Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521497695, November.
- Whinston, Michael D, 1990.
"Tying, Foreclosure, and Exclusion,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 837-59, September.
- Hugo Sonnenschein, 1968. "The Dual of Duopoly Is Complementary Monopoly: or, Two of Cournot's Theories Are One," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 316.
- Joseph Farrell & Michael L. Katz, 2001.
"Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets,"
- Farrell, Joseph & Katz, Michael L, 2000. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 413-32, December.
- Farrell, Joseph & Katz, Michael, 2000. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt1441h2tj, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Joseph Farrell & Michael L. Katz, 2003. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Development and Comp Systems 0303005, EconWPA.
- Farrell, Joseph & Katz, Michael, 2000. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt15k4v7xb, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Joseph Farrell and Michael L. Katz., 2000. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Economics Working Papers E00-286, University of California at Berkeley.
- 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.
- Raymond J. Deneckere & R. Preston McAfee, 1996.
Journal of Economics & Management Strategy,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 149-174, 06.
- Ramon Casadesus-Masanell & Barry Nalebuff & David B. Yoffie, 2007. "Competing Complements," Working Papers 07-44, NET Institute, revised Nov 2007.
- Barry Nalebuff, 2000. "Competing Against Bundles," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm157, Yale School of Management.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1588. 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: (Matthew C. Regan)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.