Tying in evolving industries, when future entry cannot be deterred

Authors: Chiara Fumagalli and Massimo Motta

International Journal of Industrial Organization, Vol. 73, 102567, December, 2020

We show that the incentive to engage in exclusionary tying (of two complementary products) may arise even when tying cannot be used as a defensive strategy to protect the incumbent's dominant position in the primary market. By engaging in tying, an incumbent firm sacrifices current profits but can exclude a more efficient rival from a complementary market by depriving it of the critical scale it needs to be successful. In turn, exclusion in the complementary market allows the incumbent to be in a favorable position when a more efficient rival will enter the primary market, and to appropriate some of the rival's efficiency rents. The paper also shows that tying is a more profitable exclusionary strategy than pure bundling, and that exclusion is the less likely the higher the proportion of consumers who multi-home.