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Open versus Closed Source

Author

Listed:
  • Egon Franck
  • Carola Jungwirth

    () (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich
    Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

Abstract

In spite of Microsoft’s quasi monopoly position in the market for operating systems Linux has succeeded to become a serious competitor of Microsoft Windows. From an economic standpoint this fact raises some puzzles. In this paper we focus on the development and production of a complex team product by a loosely coupled group of unpaid volunteers. Applying arguments from the theory of the firm a centralized monitoring system should be the expected governance structure in such circumstances. However, Linux does not have a classical firm’s governance structure but seems to be quite successful competing with Microsoft Windows despite having been developed by “hobbyists”. Analyzing this puzzle we estimate that the success of Linux is not caused by the product Linux but by the development system Linux. So we try to explain its advantages compared to Microsoft and to estimate the success of Linux in the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Egon Franck & Carola Jungwirth, 2001. "Open versus Closed Source," Working Papers 0004, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:wpaper:0004
    as

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    File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/ISU_WPS/4_ISU_full.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2001
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2001. "The open source movement: Key research questions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 819-826, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Production and organizations; software; standard battles; communities;

    JEL classification:

    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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