Compatibility Incentives of a Large Network Facing Multiple Rivals

41 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2006

See all articles by David A. Malueg

David A. Malueg

University of California Riverside

Marius Schwartz

Georgetown University

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Under network effects, we analyze when a firm with the largest market share of installed-base customers prefers incompatibility with smaller rivals that are themselves compatible. With incompatibility, consumers realize that intra-network competition makes the rivals' network more aggressive than a single-firm network in adding customers. Consequently, under incompatibility the unique equilibrium can entail tipping away from the largest firm whatever its market share. The largest firm is more likely to prefer incompatibility as its share rises (above fifty per cent is necessary) or the potential to add consumers falls; the number of rivals and strength of network effects have ambiguous implications.

Suggested Citation

Malueg, David A. and Schwartz, Marius, Compatibility Incentives of a Large Network Facing Multiple Rivals. Journal of Industrial Economics, Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 527-567, December 2006. Available at SSRN: or

David A. Malueg (Contact Author)

University of California Riverside ( email )

Economics Department
3136 Sproul Hall
Riverside, CA 92505
United States
951 827 1494 (Phone)

Marius Schwartz

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-678-6112 (Phone)

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