The Community for Technology Leaders
RSS Icon
Issue No.03 - Fall (1995 vol.17)
pp: 58-66
<p>No careful empirical research has tested the widely held belief that the cost of switching computer vendors tends to produce technological “lock-in,” meaning that the cost of switching between incompatible vendors is prohibitively expensive. Using several studies by federal agencies into the costs of switching mainframe computer vendors, this article concludes that mainframe computers of the late 1970s possessed many of the features typically associated with lock-in. However, many other factors also attenuated tendencies to lock-in. While lock-in was important for the outcomes of several well-documented instances, it is not clear whether lock-in was important for the outcomes of a wide set of cases.</p>
Shane M. Greenstein, "Lock-in and the Costs of Switching Mainframe Computer Vendors in the US Federal Government in the 1970s", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.17, no. 3, pp. 58-66, Fall 1995, doi:10.1109/85.397061
1. Office of Technology Assessment, Federal Government Information Technology: Management, Security and Con gressional Oversight, Feb. 1987, Y3.T22/2:2F31/2, p. 20.
2. J. Farrell and G. Saloner, “Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation,” Rand J. Economics, Spring 1985.
3. J. Farrell and C. Shapiro, “Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs,” Rand J. Economics, Spring 1988.
4. J. Farrell and C. Shapiro, “Optimal Contracts with Lock-in,” American Economics Rev., Mar. 1989.
5. P. Klemperer, “Markets with Consumer Switching Costs,” Quarterly J. Economics, Vol. 102, 1987.
6. P. Klemperer, “The Competitiveness of Markets with Switching Costs,” Rand J. Economics, Spring 1987.
7. D. Scheffman and P. Spiller, “Buyers and Entry Barriers,” mimeo., Univ. of Illinois, 1989.
8. C.C. von Weizsacker, “The Costs of Substitution,” Econometrica, Vol. 52, No. 4, Sept. 1984.
9. O.E. Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and Antitrust Implications, Free Press, New York, 1975.
10. O. Williamson, “Transaction-cost Economics: The Governance of Contractual Relations,” J. Law and Economics, 1979, pp. 233-261.
11. F. Fisher, P. McGowen, , and J. Greenwood, Folded, Spindled and Mutilated: Economic Analysis and US vs. IBM, MIT Press, 1983.
12. F. Fisher, R. McKie, and F. Mancke, IBM and the US Data Processing Industry: An Economic History, Praeger Publishers, 1983.
13. B. Arthur, “Competing Technologies: An Overview,” in Technical Change and Economic Theory, Dosi et al., eds., Pinter Publishers, London, 1988.
14. B. Arthur, “Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events,” Economic J., 1989.
15. R. Cowan, Backing the Wrong Horse: Sequential Technology Choice Under Increasing Returns, thesis, Stanford Univ., July 1987.
16. P. David, “The Landscape and the Machine: Technical Interrelatedness, Land Tenure and the Mechanization of the Corn Harvest in Victorian Britain,” in P. David, Technical Choice, Innovation and Economic Growth, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1975.
17. P. David, “Clio and the Economics of Qwerty,” American Economic Rev., May 1985.
18. P. David, “Some New Standards for the Economics of Standardization in the Information Age,” in The Theory of Technology Policy, P. Dasgupta and P.L. Stoneman, eds., Cambridge Univ. Press, 1987.
19. P.A. David and S.M. Greenstein, “The Economics of Compatibility Standards: An Introduction to Recent Research,” Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Vol. 1, 1990, pp. 1-29.
20. R. Cowan, “Nuclear Power Reactors: A Study in Technological Lock-in,” working paper, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, NYU, Oct. 1988.
21. M.A. Cusamono, Y. Mylondadis, , and R. Rosenbloom, “Strategic Maneuvering and Mass Market Dynamics: The Triumph of VHS over BETA,” Working Paper 91-048, Harvard Business School.
22. S. Postrel, “Competing Networks and Proprietary Standards: The Case of Quadrophonic Sound,” J. Industrial Economics, Vol. 39, No. 2, Dec. 1990.
23. International Data Corp., EDP Industry Report, Framingham, Mass., various years.
24. S. Greenstein, “Computers, Compatibility and Economic Choice,” unpublished doctoral dissertation, Stanford Univ., June 1989.
25. “Millions in Savings Possible in Converting Programs from One Computer to Another,” General Accounting Office, Sept. Sept.Sept. 1977, FGMSD-77-34.
26. “Conversion: A Costly, Disruptive Process That Must be Considered When Buying Computers,” General Accounting Office, June3, 1980, FGMSD-80-35.
27. Conversion Contracting Techniques Associated with Procurement of Replacement ADP Hardware System, General Services Administration (Office of Software Development and Information Technology), GSA/FCSC-1/003, PB82-145079, NTIS, Sept. 1981.
28. Conversion Work Packages, General Services Administration (Office of Software Development and Information Technology), Report No. OSD/FCSC-82/002, July 1982.
29. Conversion Plan Outline, General Services Administration (Office of Software Development and Information Technology), Report No. FCSC-83-002, Jan. 1983.
30. Software Conversion Lessons Learned, Volume I, General Services Administration (Office of Software Development and Information Technology), FCSC-83/003, 1983.
31. Preparing Software Conversion Studies, General Services Administration (Office of Software Development and Information Technology), OIT-FCSC-84/001, 1984.
32. Conversion Cost Model (Version 4), Cost Model Handbook, General Services Administration (Office of Software Development and Information Technology), May30, 1986, OSDIT/FSMC-86/005.
33. Conversion of Federal ADP Systems: A Tutorial, National Bureau of Standards, Aug. 1980, C13.10:500-62.
34. Data Base Directions—The Conversion Problem, National Bureau of Standards, Sept. 1980, C13.10:500-64.
35. M.M. Gray, An Assessment and Forecast of ADP in the Federal Government, Aug. 1981, C13.10:500-79.
36. P.A. David, “Narrow Windows, Blind Giants and Angry Orphans: The Dynamics of Systems Rivalries and Dilemmas of Technology Policy,” in Innovation Diffusion, Vol. 3,F. Arcangeli et al., eds., Oxford Univ. Press, New York, 1990.
37. Auerbach Standard EDP Reports, 1962-1975, Philadelphia, Pa.
38. S. Greenstein, “Sole-Sourcing versus Competitive Bidding: U.S. Government Agencies’Procedural Choices for Mainframe Computer Procurement,” J. Industrial Economics, Vol. 43, No. 2, June 1995, pp. 125-140.
39. F.P. Brooks, Jr., The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Addison Wesley Longman, Reading, Mass., 1975.
40. L. Cabral and S. Greenstein, “Switching Costs and Bidding Parity in Government Procurement of Computer Systems,” J. Law, Economics, and Organizations, Vol. 6,Fall 1990, pp. 453-469.
41. E.R. Dulberger, “The Application of a Hedonic Model to Quality-Adjusted Price Index for Computer Processors,” in Technology and Capital Formation, D.W. Jorgenson and R. Landau, eds., MIT Press, 1989.
42. R.J. Gordon, “The Postwar Evolution of Computer Prices,” in Technology and Capital Formation, D.W. Jorgenson and R. Landau, eds., MIT Press, 1989.
43. J. Heckman and B. Singer, “The Identification Problem in Econometric Models of Duration Data,” in W. Hildebrand, Advances in Econometrics, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1982, pp. 39-77.
44. S. Greenstein, “Did Installed Base Give an Incumbent Any (Measurable) Advantages in Federal Computer Procurement?” Rand J. Economics, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1993, pp. 19-39.
15 ms
(Ver 2.0)

Marketing Automation Platform Marketing Automation Tool