Competition with Open Source as a Public Good
Journal of Industrial and Management Optimization, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 199-211, February 2008
13 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2008 Last revised: 22 Jun 2014
The open source paradigm is often defined as a collaborative effort, implying that firms and consumers come together in a non-competitive climate. We show here that open source development can arise from a competitive climate. Under competition, we find that open source is the surplus maximizing outcome and can be in equilibrium if cost asymmetries are small. However, when cost asymmetries are large, contradictions between equilibrium and welfare maximization result. Considerations typical to public good problems arise, with issues of asymmetric contributions and freeriding. These issues should guide the firm's as well as the society's decisions to implement open source in particular environments. We analyze this problem in the framework of a dynamic duopolistic competition, with firms controlling their investments in software.
Keywords: Differential Games, Public Goods, Open source, Software, Nash equilibrium, Two point boundary Value Problems, Optimal control, welfare maximization
JEL Classification: C61, M31, M00, C72, D6
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