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Back from the brink: Microsoft and the strategic use of standards in the Browser Wars

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  • Windrum, Paul

    (MERIT)

Abstract

The browser wars are probably the best-chronicled standards competition in recent history. Yet the standard lock-in model does not readily account for the dramatic change in fortunes of Microsoft. At one time it seemed that Microsoft would be go the way of IBM before it and fail to catch the next technological wave in the computer industry. However Microsoft managed to capture the browser market, overturning Netscape''s initial domination of the market. In seeking to understand this dramatic return of events, the paper begins by outlining the key elements of the Arthur model. This is followed by a historical narrative of the browser wars that highlights three aspects of this technological competition; firms'' strategic use of standards, users'' considerations of initial set-up costs, and the degree of interconnectivity between product markets. The paper finally considers how the standard lock-in model may be extended in order to encompass these dimensions.

Suggested Citation

  • Windrum, Paul, 2000. "Back from the brink: Microsoft and the strategic use of standards in the Browser Wars," Research Memorandum 005, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:umamer:2000005
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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/rmpdf/2000/rm2000-005.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-337, May.
    2. A. Bassanini & G. Dosi, 1998. "Competing Technologies, International Diffusion and the Rate of Convergence to a Stable Market Structure," Working Papers ir98012, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
    3. Windrum, Paul, 1999. "Simulation models of technological innovation: A Review," Research Memorandum 005, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    4. Brian Arthur, W. & Ermoliev, Yu. M. & Kaniovski, Yu. M., 1987. "Path-dependent processes and the emergence of macro-structure," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 294-303, June.
    5. Alan Kirman, 1997. "The economy as an evolving network," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 339-353.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ilan Oshri & Henk de Vries & Huibert de Vries, 2010. "The rise of Firefox in the web browser industry: The role of open source in setting standards," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(5), pages 834-856.

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    economics of technology ;

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