Jeffrey Church and Neil Gandal
This paper examines the incentives for integration when the market for consumer durables (hardware) is oligopolistic and the market for complementary services (software) is monopolistically competitive. We find that the equilibrium industry structure will depend on the magnitude of the fixed costs of software development. If the software development costs are relatively large, the equilibrium industry structure is unintegrated, that is, neither hardware firm integrates; if the software development costs are relatively small, the equilibrium industry structure is integrated, that is, both hardware firms integrate. Under the integrated industry structure, hardware profits are lower, less varieties are provided, and hardware prices are lower than under the unintegrated industry structure. The game has a prisoners’ dilemma structure when the software development costs are relatively small because of a foreclosure effect. Strategically increasing the number of software varieties provides an avenue for an integrated hardware firm to increase its market share and profits by reducing the number of software varieties available for an unintegrated rival technology. Although consumer surplus is higher under an integrated industry structure, the total surplus associated with the unintegrated industry structure exceeds that of the integrated industry structure.