Can indirect network effects lead to adoption externalities? If so, when? We show that in markets where consumption benefits arise from hardware/software systems, adoption externalities will occur when there are (i) increasing returns to scale in the production of software, (ii) free entry in software, and (iii) consumers have a preference for software variety. The private benefit of the marginal hardware purchaser is less than the social benefit since the marginal hardware purchaser does not internalize the welfare improving response of the software industry, particularly the increase in software variety, on inframarginal purchasers when the market for hardware expands.
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