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A Model of corporate donations to open source under hardware–software complementarity


  • Di Gaetano, Luigi


In recent years there has been an increasing diffusion of open source projects, as well as an increasing interest among scholars on the topic. Open source software (OSS) is developed by communities of programmers and users, usually sponsored by private firms; OSS is available in the public domain and redistributed for free. In this paper a model of open and closed source software (CSS) competition will be presented. Hardware and software are complement goods and OSS is financed by hardware firms. There is a differentiated oligopoly of hardware–software bundles, in which firms compete in prices. Results are several; positive (hardware firm) contributions are possible, although, they are not socially optimal. OSS availability has a positive impact on social welfare, and on hardware firms’ profits and prices. CSS firm’s price and profits decrease when OSS is available. The effect on the price of the hardware–CSS bundle depends on demand own–price elasticity. The model can explain the increasing participation in open source projects of embedded device producers. Hardware firms’ incentives to contribute to OSS development process are greater when there is a relatively intensive competition among producers. Hardware firms use OSS to decrease the software monopolist’s market power.

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  • Di Gaetano, Luigi, 2012. "A Model of corporate donations to open source under hardware–software complementarity," MPRA Paper 39849, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:39849

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Economides, Nicholas & Salop, Steven C, 1992. "Competition and Integration among Complements, and Network Market Structure," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 105-123, March.
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    3. Dalle, Jean-Michel & Jullien, Nicolas, 2003. "'Libre' software: turning fads into institutions?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-11, January.
    4. Jurgen Bitzer & Philipp Schroder, 2007. "Open Source Software, Competition and Innovation," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(5), pages 461-476.
    5. 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.
    6. Schmidt, Klaus M. & Schnitzer, Monika, 2003. "Public Subsidies for Open Source? Some Economic Policy Issues of the Software Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 3793, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    8. 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.
    9. Jay Pil Choi, 2008. "MERGERS WITH BUNDLING IN COMPLEMENTARY MARKETS -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 553-577, September.
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    More about this item


    Open source; software markets; differentiated oligopoly; complement goods;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection

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