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Avoiding Market Dominance: Product Compatibility in Markets with Network Effects

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  • Jiawei Chen
  • Ulrich Doraszelski
  • Joseph E. Harrington, Jr.

Abstract

As is well-recognized, market dominance is a typical outcome in markets with network effects. A firm with a larger installed base others a more attractive product which induces more consumers to buy its product which produces a yet bigger installed base advantage. Such a setting is investigated here but with the main difference that firms have the option of making their products compatible. When firms have similar installed bases, they make their products compatible in order to expand the market. Nevertheless, random forces could result in one firm having a bigger installed base in which case the larger firm may make its product incompatible. We find that strategic pricing tends to prevent the installed base differential from expanding to the point that incompatibility occurs. This pricing dynamic is able to neutralize increasing returns and avoid the emergence of market dominance.

Suggested Citation

  • Jiawei Chen & Ulrich Doraszelski & Joseph E. Harrington, Jr., 2008. "Avoiding Market Dominance: Product Compatibility in Markets with Network Effects," Economics Working Paper Archive 537, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:537
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Besanko & Ulrich Doraszelski, 2004. "Capacity Dynamics and Endogenous Asymmetries in Firm Size," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 23-49.
    2. Ariel Pakes & Paul McGuire, 1994. "Computing Markov-Perfect Nash Equilibria: Numerical Implications of a Dynamic Differentiated Product Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 555-589.
    3. 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.
    4. Farrell, Joseph & Saloner, Garth, 1992. "Converters, Compatibility, and the Control of Interfaces," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 9-35, March.
    5. Chen, Jiawei, 2009. "The effects of mergers with dynamic capacity accumulation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 92-109, January.
    6. Choi, Jay Pil, 1997. "The Provision of (Two-Way) Converters in the Transition Process to a New Incompatible Technology," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 139-153, June.
    7. Farrell, Joseph & Klemperer, Paul, 2007. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
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