Aint it Suite? Bundling in the PC Office Software Market
We examine the importance of office suites for the evolution of the PC office software market in the 1990s. An estimated discrete demand choice model reveals a positive correlation of consumer values for spreadsheets and word processors, a bonus value for suites, and advantages for Microsoft products. We employ the estimates to simulate various hypothetical market structures to evaluate the profitability, welfare, and competitive effects of suites under alternative correlation assumptions. We find that greater correlation enhances the profitability of bundling due to the interaction of a market expansion effect and a suite bonus effect. In a partial competition setting in which Lotus sells only a spreadsheet and WordPerfect sells only a word processor, we find that Microsoft’s introduction of the suite increases consumer welfare. Furthermore, while the Lotus and WordPerfect suites gained little market acceptance, a merger that creates a new suite combining the best products of both enhances competition only if the new suite overcomes Microsoft’s unobserved quality advantage.
Markovich, Sarit, Neil Gandal and Michael Riordan. Forthcoming. Aint it Suite? Bundling in the PC Office Software Market. Strategic Management Journal.