59 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 16, 2009
We study competitive interaction between profit-maximizing firms that sell software and complementary goods or services. In addition to tactical price competition, we allow firms to compete through business model reconfigurations. We consider three business models: the proprietary model (where all software modules offered by the firm are proprietary), the open source model (where all modules are open source), and the mixed source model (where a few modules are open). When a firm opens one of its modules, users can access and improve the source code. At the same time, however, opening a module sets up an open source (free) competitor. This hampers the firm's ability to capture value. We analyze three competitive situations: monopoly, commercial firm vs. non-profit open source project, and duopoly. We show that: (i) firms may become "more closed" in response to competition from an outside open source project; (ii) firms are more likely to open substitute, rather than complementary, modules to existing open source projects; (iii) when the products of two competing firms are similar in quality, firms differentiate through choosing different business models; and (iv) low-quality firms are generally more prone to opening some of their technologies than firms with high-quality products.
Keywords: Open Source, User Innovation, Business Models, Complementarity, Vertical Dierentiation, Value Creation, Value Capture
JEL Classification: O31, L17, D43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon and Llanes, Gastón, Mixed Source (September 16, 2009). NET Institute Working Paper No. 09-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1474994 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1474994