Compatibility with Firm Dominance
This paper analyzes the effect of firm dominance on the incentives to become compatible and how compatibility decisions affect investment incentives. We will consider compatibility in two dimensions: compatibility of the complementary good and inter-network compatibility. We show that if products are substitutes, compatibility tends to be welfare decreasing with the potential negative consequences of increasing compatibility being more likely when asymmetries are strong. We also find that in many instances the dominant firm’s interests regarding compatibility are in line with those of users, and are opposite to those of the weak firm, which will always demand more compatibility to be enforced. Finally we show that compatibility may harm innovation, particularly for the dominant firm.
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