IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ube/dpvwib/dp0707.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On Platforms, Incomplete Contracts, and Open Source Software

Author

Listed:
  • Andras Niedermayer

Abstract

We consider a firm A initially owning a software platform (e.g. operating system) and an application for this platform. The specific knowledge of another firm B is needed to make the platform successful by creating a further application. When B's application is completed, A has incentives to expropriate the rents. Netscape claimed e.g. that this was the case with its browser running on MS Windows. We will argue that open sourcing or standardizing the platform is a warranty for B against expropriation of rents. The different pieces of software are considered as assets in the sense of the property rights literature (see Hart and Moore (Journal of Political Economy, 1990)). Two cases of joint ownership are considered beyond the standard cases of integration and non-integration: platform standardization (both parties can veto changes) and open source (no veto rights). In line with the literature, the more important a party's specific investments the more rights it should have. In contrast to Hart and Moore, however, joint ownership can be optimal in our setting. Open source is optimal if investments in the applications are more important than in the platform. The results are driven by the fact that in our model firms invest in physical (and not in human) capital and that there is non-rivalry in consumption for software.

Suggested Citation

  • Andras Niedermayer, 2007. "On Platforms, Incomplete Contracts, and Open Source Software," Diskussionsschriften dp0707, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  • Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp0707
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.vwl.unibe.ch/wp-content/uploads/papers/dp/dp0707.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    2. Joseph Farrell & Michael L. Katz, 2000. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 413-432, December.
    3. West, Joel, 2003. "How open is open enough?: Melding proprietary and open source platform strategies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1259-1285, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    6. Stephen M. Maurer & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2006. "Open Source Software: The New Intellectual Property Paradigm," NBER Working Papers 12148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Annabelle Gawer & Rebecca Henderson, 2007. "Platform Owner Entry and Innovation in Complementary Markets: Evidence from Intel," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 1-34, March.
    8. Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Schmitz, Patrick W., 1999. "Know-how disclosure and incomplete contracts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 181-185, May.
    9. Farrell, Joseph & Katz, Michael L, 2000. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 413-432, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Niedermayer Andras, 2015. "Does a Platform Monopolist Want Competition?," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 1-44, March.
    2. Thomas Le Texier & Mourad Zeroukhi, 2015. "How Can Proprietary Software Firms Take Advantage Over Open Source Communities? Another Story of Pro?fitable Piracy," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201503, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    3. Kevin Boudreau, 2010. "Open Platform Strategies and Innovation: Granting Access vs. Devolving Control," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(10), pages 1849-1872, October.
    4. Llanes, Gastón & de Elejalde, Ramiro, 2013. "Industry equilibrium with open-source and proprietary firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 36-49.
    5. Niedermayer, Andreas, 2015. "Does a Platform Monopolist Want Competition?," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 523, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    6. Halonen-Akatwijuka, Maija & Pafilis, Evagelos, 2020. "Common ownership of public goods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 555-578.
    7. Atal Vidya & Shankar Kameshwari, 2015. "Developers’ Incentives and Open-Source Software Licensing: GPL vs BSD," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(3), pages 1381-1416, July.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Niedermayer, Andras, 2013. "On platforms, incomplete contracts, and open source software," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 714-722.
    2. Rockett, Katharine, 2010. "Property Rights and Invention," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 315-380, Elsevier.
    3. Alexy, Oliver & Reitzig, Markus, 2013. "Private–collective innovation, competition, and firms’ counterintuitive appropriation strategies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 895-913.
    4. Maija Halonen-Akatwijuka & Toby Regner, 2004. "Digital Technology and the Allocation of Ownership in the Music Industry," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 04/096, The Centre for Market and Public Organisation, University of Bristol, UK.
    5. Kevin Boudreau, 2005. "The Boundaries of the Platform: Vertical Integration and Economic Incentives in Mobile Computing," Working Papers hal-00597767, HAL.
    6. Kevin Boudreau, 2010. "Open Platform Strategies and Innovation: Granting Access vs. Devolving Control," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(10), pages 1849-1872, October.
    7. Nishino, Nariaki & Okazaki, Miki & Akai, Kenju, 2018. "Effects of ability difference and strategy imitation on cooperation network formation: A study with game theoretic modeling and multi-agent simulation," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 145-156.
    8. Xing Wan & Javier Cenamor & Geoffrey Parker & Marshall Van Alstyne, 2017. "Unraveling Platform Strategies: A Review from an Organizational Ambidexterity Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 9(5), pages 1-18, May.
    9. Jens Foerderer, 2020. "Interfirm Exchange and Innovation in Platform Ecosystems: Evidence from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(10), pages 4772-4787, October.
    10. Peng Huang & Marco Ceccagnoli & Chris Forman & D.J. Wu, 2009. "Participation in a Platform Ecosystem: Appropriability, Competition, and Access to the Installed Base," Working Papers 09-14, NET Institute, revised Sep 2009.
    11. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2021. "On the optimality of outsourcing when vertical integration can mitigate information asymmetries," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 202(C).
    12. Sudipto Bhattacharya & Sergei Guriev, 2006. "Patents vs. Trade Secrets: Knowledge Licensing and Spillover," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(6), pages 1112-1147, December.
    13. Panos Constantinides & Ola Henfridsson & Geoffrey G. Parker, 2018. "Introduction—Platforms and Infrastructures in the Digital Age," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 29(2), pages 381-400, June.
    14. Burcu Tan & Edward G. Anderson, Jr. & Geoffrey G. Parker, 2020. "Platform Pricing and Investment to Drive Third-Party Value Creation in Two-Sided Networks," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 31(1), pages 217-239, March.
    15. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2021. "Optimal ownership of public goods under asymmetric information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 198(C).
    16. Frédéric Marty & Julien Pillot, 2019. "Cooperation, Dependence and Eviction - How Platform-To-Business Relationships in Mobile Telephony Ecosystems Should Be Addressed in A Competition Law Perspective?," CIRANO Working Papers 2019s-01, CIRANO.
    17. Jabbour, Chady & Rey-Valette, Hélène & Maurel, Pierre & Salles, Jean-Michel, 2019. "Spatial data infrastructure management: A two-sided market approach for strategic reflections," International Journal of Information Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 69-82.
    18. Ferreira, Daniel & Li, Jin & Nikolowa, Radoslawa, 2019. "Corporate Capture of Blockchain Governance," CEPR Discussion Papers 13493, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Feng Zhu & Qihong Liu, 2018. "Competing with complementors: An empirical look at Amazon.com," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(10), pages 2618-2642, October.
    20. Packalen, Mikko, 2010. "Complements and potential competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 244-253, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Platforms; open source; standardization; incomplete contracts; property rights; joint ownership;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp0707. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vwibech.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Franz Koelliker (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vwibech.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.