Competitive Implications of Software Open-Sourcing
Forthcoming, Decision Support Systems
38 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2008 Last revised: 12 Jun 2014
Date Written: August 5, 2008
This paper is concerned with the economic trade-offs associated with open-sourcing, the business strategy of releasing free open-source versions of commercial software products. The effect of the release of open-source versions on the customers' perception of products is an important determinant of open-sourcing outcomes. We model open-sourcing as a strategic option for firms that compete in the market for software products. Of particular importance in our model is the effect of open-sourcing on customer values and the possibility for better customization offered by the open-source products. We show that open-sourcing can arise as an equilibrium outcome in our simple two-stage game. If the enhancement of customer values from open-sourcing is moderate or high, firms may find it optimal to release open-source versions of their products.
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