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Upgrading and Niche Usage of PC Operating Systems

Authors/Editors: Kretschmer, T.
Published: 2004
Type: Articles in Refereed Journals (International)
ISBN/ISSN: 0167-7187
Published by: International Journal of Industrial Organization, 22(8-9), pp. 1155-1182


Microsoft has been dominating the market for PC operating systems (OS) for the last two decades. This paper analyzes the decision of firms to standardize on the mainstream OS family and assesses whether upgrading to the latest version within the MS family is a substitute for using niche OS. We address the following questions: (1) How likely is a firm to standardize on the Microsoft family? (2) How quickly will a firm upgrade to a new version of the mainstream system? (3) Which niche operating system is a firm likely to use, if any? We find that upgrading and niche usage seem to be substitutes to some extent, but that larger and more IT-intensive firms will rather use niche systems than upgrade to the latest Windows version.