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Linux vs. Windows: A comparison of application and platform innovation incentives for open source and proprietary software platforms




The paper analyzes and compares the investment incentives of platform and application developers for Linux and Windows. We find that the level of investment in applications is larger when the operating system is open source rather than proprietary. The comparison of the levels of investment in the operating systems depends, among others, on reputation effects and the number of developers. The paper also develops a short case study comparing Windows and Linux and identifies new directions for open source software research.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Economides & Evangelos Katsamakas, 2005. "Linux vs. Windows: A comparison of application and platform innovation incentives for open source and proprietary software platforms," Working Papers 05-07, NET Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:0507

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Franke, Nikolaus & Hippel, Eric von, 2003. "Satisfying heterogeneous user needs via innovation toolkits: the case of Apache security software," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1199-1215, July.
    2. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2001. "The open source movement: Key research questions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 819-826, May.
    3. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2005. "The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 99-120, Spring.
    4. Justin Pappas Johnson, 2002. "Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 637-662, December.
    5. Mustonen, Mikko, 2003. "Copyleft--the economics of Linux and other open source software," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 99-121, March.
    6. Nicholas Economides & Evangelos Katsamakas, 2006. "Two-Sided Competition of Proprietary vs. Open Source Technology Platforms and the Implications for the Software Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(7), pages 1057-1071, July.
    7. Bitzer, Jurgen, 2004. "Commercial versus open source software: the role of product heterogeneity in competition," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 369-381, December.
    8. Stefano Comino & Fabio Manenti, 2005. "Government Policies Supporting Open Source Software for the Mass Market," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 26(2), pages 217-240, December.
    9. Jürgen Bitzer & Philipp J. H. Schröder, 2003. "Competition and Innovation in a Technology Setting Software Duopoly," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 363, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    10. Mikko Mustonen, 2005. "When Does a Firm Support Substitute Open Source Programming?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 121-139, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. María Fernanda Viecens, 2009. "Compatibility with Firm Dominance," Working Papers 2009-12, FEDEA.
    2. Bitzer, Jürgen & Geishecker, Ingo, 2010. "Who contributes voluntarily to OSS? An investigation among German IT employees," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 165-172, February.
    3. Gauguier, Jean-Jacques, 2009. "L’industrialisation de l’Open Source," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/4388 edited by Toledano, Joëlle.
    4. Economides, Nicholas & Tåg, Joacim, 2012. "Network neutrality on the Internet: A two-sided market analysis," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 91-104.
    5. Niedermayer, Andras, 2013. "On platforms, incomplete contracts, and open source software," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 714-722.
    6. Ghafele, Roya & Gibert, Benjamin, 2012. "Efficiency through openness: the economic value proposition of open source software," MPRA Paper 38088, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. German Lambardi, 2009. "Software Innovation and the Open Source threat," Working Papers 09-15, NET Institute, revised Sep 2009.
    8. Cerquera Dussán, Daniel & Müller, Bettina, 2009. "Open Source, ICT infrastructure and firm performance," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-089, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

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