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Adoptions and Orphans in the Early Microcomputer Market


  • Neil Gandal

    (Tel Aviv University)

  • Shane Greenstein

    (University of Illinois)

  • David Salant

    (GTE Laboratories)


In this paper we develop a model with (1) differentiated consumers, (2) endogenous adoption times, (3) technical uncertainty, and (4) alternative technologies sponsored by competing vendors. We identify conditions under which orphaning arises endogenously in a framework of dynamic competition. We then use the model to examine the development of the micro-computer market in the early 1980s, when the orphaning of a widely-adopted operating system occurred. We find that the data characterizing this event are consistent with our theoretical framework.

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  • Neil Gandal & Shane Greenstein & David Salant, 1995. "Adoptions and Orphans in the Early Microcomputer Market," Industrial Organization 9502002, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:9502002
    Note: 37 pages LateX file, plus 4 figures in separate postscript file. To request a hard copy, send e-mail to Stella Padeh, Foerder Institute of Economic Research (

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Greenstein, Shane, 1999. "Technological Competition and the Structure of the Computer Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 1-40, March.
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    6. Church, Jeffrey & Gandal, Neil, 1992. "Network Effects, Software Provision, and Standardization," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 85-103, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Corts, Kenneth S. & Lederman, Mara, 2009. "Software exclusivity and the scope of indirect network effects in the U.S. home video game market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 121-136, March.
    2. Stefan Mai, 2002. "International co-ordination of e-commerce," IWP Discussion Paper Series 03/2002, Institute for Economic Policy, Cologne, Germany.
    3. Christopher R. Knittel & Victor Stango, 2003. "Compatibility and pricing with indirect network effects: evidence from ATMs," Working Paper Series WP-03-33, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    4. Andrea Fosfuri & Marco S. Giarratana & Alessandra Luzzi, 2005. "Firm Assets and Investments in Open Source Software Products," DRUID Working Papers 05-10, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    5. Dranove, David & Gandal, Neil, 2002. "The DVD Versus DIVX Standard War: Empirical Evidence of Network Effects and Preannouncement Effects," CEPR Discussion Papers 3634, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Chen, Derek H. C. & Dahlman, Carl J., 2004. "Knowledge and development : a cross-section approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3366, The World Bank.
    7. Kretschmer, Tobias, 2004. "Upgrading and niche usage of PC operating systems," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1155-1182, November.
    8. Leonhard Dobusch & Elke Schüßler, 2013. "Theorizing path dependence: a review of positive feedback mechanisms in technology markets, regional clusters, and organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 617-647, June.
    9. Tobias Kretschmer, 2005. "Competing technologies in the database management systems market," Working Papers 05-17, NET Institute, revised Oct 2005.
    10. Amiya Basu & Tridib Mazumdar & S. P. Raj, 2003. "Indirect Network Externality Effects on Product Attributes," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(2), pages 209-221, April.
    11. David Dranove and Neil Gandal., 2000. "The DVD vs. DIVX Standard War: Empirical Evidence of Vaporware," Economics Working Papers E00-293, University of California at Berkeley.
    12. Markovich, Sarit & Moenius, Johannes, 2009. "Winning while losing: Competition dynamics in the presence of indirect network effects," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 346-357, May.
    13. Michal Grajek, 2002. "Identification of Network Externalities in Markets for Non-Durables," CIG Working Papers FS IV 02-32, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    14. Schmitt, John & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2002. "Give PC's a chance: personal computer ownership and the digital divide in the United States and Great Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20086, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. Kretschmer, Tobias & Muehlfeld, Katrin, 2006. "Co-opetition and prelaunch in standard-setting for developing technologies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19843, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Knittel Christopher R. & Stango Victor, 2008. "Incompatibility, Product Attributes and Consumer Welfare: Evidence from ATMs," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-42, January.
    17. Julio De Castro, 2004. "Piracy as Strategy? A Reexamination of Product Piracy," Working Papers Economia wp04-08, Instituto de Empresa, Area of Economic Environment.
    18. Mitsuru Sunada, 2008. "Network effects with quality change: an empirical analysis of the Japanese mobile telecommunications market, 1995-2001," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(8), pages 657-674.
    19. Markovich, Sarit, 2008. "Snowball: A dynamic oligopoly model with indirect network effects," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 909-938, March.
    20. Heli Koski & Tobias Kretschmer, 2004. "Survey on Competing in Network Industries: Firm Strategies, Market Outcomes, and Policy Implications," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-31, March.
    21. Karaca-Mandic, Pinar, 2003. "Network Effects in Technology Adoption: The Case of DVD Players," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3zj05321, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    22. COLLA, Paolo & GARCIA, Filomena, 2004. "Technology adoption with forward looking agents," CORE Discussion Papers 2004041, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    23. Chen, Derek H.C., 2004. "Gender equality and economic development : the role for information and communication technologies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3285, The World Bank.

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    JEL classification:

    • L - Industrial Organization


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