Willingness to pay in an open source software environment

Raghu Santanam, Rajiv Sinha, Ajay Vinze, Orneita Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Competition from open source software and free software (OSS/FS) alternatives is causing proprietary software producers to reevaluate product strategies. OSS/FS alternatives complicate an already complex information goods market plagued by piracy concerns. Although producer perspectives on software pricing and piracy controls have been addressed extensively, consumers' perspective and willingness to pay for commercial software is not very well understood. This paper empirically determines willingness to pay for a leading commercial software application (Microsoft Office) in the presence of an OSS/FS alternative. A contingent valuation approach is used to elicit willingness to pay for the application. The research design employs a 2×2×2 experiment to investigate the impact of preventive control, deterrence control, and OSS/FS alternative. The results indicate that the availability of an OSS/FS alternative has little impact on willingness to pay for Microsoft Office. However, piracy controls significantly increase willingness to pay for Microsoft Office, even in the presence of OSS/FS alternatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-236
Number of pages19
JournalInformation Systems Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Contingent valuation
  • Intellectual property
  • Open source software
  • Software piracy
  • Willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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