Seeking Closure: Competition in Complementary Markets*


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    We gratefully acknowledge the editors and the reviewers for their helpful feedback, which has led to significant improvements of this article.

† Corresponding author.


When offering a product that has a complementary product in a different market, a firm must consider the interdependence between the complementary products as well as the competition within markets. If the firm participates in both markets, the balancing act becomes even more challenging. This article provides insights about strategies in this latter setting: when should the firm seek to keep its products closed to competing complementary products, and when would the firm be better off by accepting a common standard? To address these questions, we employ standard game theoretic analysis to a simple spatial model that captures aspects of both intermarket externalities and intramarket competition. We find that if a firm participates in both markets and chooses a closed standard, it achieves lower profits compared to an open standard, but gains greater market share. Surprisingly, we find that customers are better off when standards are kept closed.