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Mixed Source

Authors: Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon - Harvard Business School
Llanes, Gaston - Harvard Business School
Keywords: Open Source, User Innovation, Business Models, Complementarity, Vertical Dierentiation, Value Creation, Value Capture
Issue Date: 2009
Series/Report no.: Net Institute Working Paper;09-06
Abstract: 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 rms with high-quality products.
Appears in Collections:NET Institute Working Papers Series

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