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Network Effects, Pricing Strategies, and Optimal Upgrade Time in Software Provision

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  • Yi-Nung Yang

    (Department of Economics at Utah State University)

Abstract

There are many products which have little or no value in isolation, but if combined with other products or services, they generate more value. The utility that a given user derives from these products depends upon the number of other users who consume the same products. This kind of positive consumption externality is defined as a network externality. Network externalities are pervasive in the computer in the computer software market. While software vendors consider pricing strategies, they must also take into account the impact of network externalities on their sales. Our main interest in this paper is to describe the firm's strategies and behavior in the presence of network externalities. Based on the two-stage model in this paper, we find that the software firm will charge a lower price to attract more users in the first stage, then charge a higher price as it does in monopoly as traditional economic theory indicates. And our dynamic model shows that the optimal upgrade time occurs when gross profit of the first edition equals the gross profit of the second edition of the software. This implies that either too earlier or late promotion of the new software version will causes profit loss.

Suggested Citation

  • Yi-Nung Yang, 1996. "Network Effects, Pricing Strategies, and Optimal Upgrade Time in Software Provision," Industrial Organization 9602001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:9602001 Note: Type of Document - MS Word 2.0; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP; pages: 15 ; figures: included. Word for Windows 2.0 document submitted via ftp
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Farrell, Joseph & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "Installed Base and Compatibility: Innovation, Product Preannouncements, and Predation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 940-955, December.
    2. Church, Jeffrey & Gandal, Neil, 1992. "Network Effects, Software Provision, and Standardization," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 85-103, March.
    3. S. J. Liebowitz & Stephen E. Margolis, 1994. "Network Externality: An Uncommon Tragedy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 133-150, Spring.
    4. Kathleen Reavis Conner & Richard P. Rumelt, 1991. "Software Piracy: An Analysis of Protection Strategies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(2), pages 125-139, February.
    5. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Installed Base and Compatibility With Implications for Product Preannouncements," Working papers 385, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    6. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-440, June.
    7. Choi, Jay Pil, 1994. "Network Externality, Compatibility Choice, and Planned Obsolescence," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 167-182, June.
    8. Neil Gandal, 1994. "Hedonic Price Indexes for Spreadsheets and an Empirical Test for Network Externalities," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 160-170, Spring.
    9. Birger Wernerfelt, 1986. "A Special Case of Dynamic Pricing Policy," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(12), pages 1562-1566, December.
    10. Stanley M. Besen & Joseph Farrell, 1994. "Choosing How to Compete: Strategies and Tactics in Standardization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 117-131, Spring.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    network externalities; software; upgrade;

    JEL classification:

    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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