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Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy
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Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  417 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
In Information Rules, authors Shapiro and Varian reveal that many classic economic concepts can provide the insight and understanding necessary to succeed in the information age. They argue that if managers seriously want to develop effective strategies for competing in the new economy, they must understand the fundamental economics of information technology. Whether infor ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published November 19th 1998 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published 1998)
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Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I don't understand why there hasn't been a second edition of this book! It's great, but its usefulness can only go so far due to the fact that it came out in 1999. I would love to see an updated edition.
Raphael Leiteritz
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. A bit old now but basically enabled the whole internet economy.
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
The most important resource is not currently derived from natural resources or capital again, but it is in knowledge. (Drucker 1993). Economic information or digital economy no longer relies on fixed assets, but on the intangible assets such as knowledge and information. The rapid development of information technology has provided a fundamental change in business structure and economy. This book outlines some important issues related to the information economy: for pricing information goods (pri ...more
Lino's Version
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
The insights in this book are still excellent almost 20 years after it was written.

The examples are a little dated - but like a time machine to the tech past

Well laid out with very good additional readings

Additional thoughts:

Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy
• Carl Shapiro
• Hal R. Varian
• Copyright 1999

In Information Rules, authors Shapiro and Varian reveal that many classic economic concepts can provide the insight and understanding necessary to succeed in the informati
Jan 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Not bad but I think the social media have changed a bit the information flow or rather disrupt it and this book may be a bit outdated....but I may be wrong
Eric Stevens
Standard supply and demand models aren't as relevant to IT as other industries because of the often intangible nature of IT solutions, discriminatory pricing, high network effects and lock in. This book applies the fundamentals of economic theory in a practical manner that is specific to the Information Technology industry.

While being useful as a strategy guide for varies common economic situation for IT business managers, it is also enlightening as a customer as to power held by large orginizat
Xiaofei Guo
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Technology changes frequently, economic laws does not.

The authors express their view on information economy from information, technology, and policy aspects.

Information has a unique cost structure and therefore it requires strategic management of intellectual property. Information is also an "experienced" good and its value varies to different buyers and at different times. In the information age, information is abundant but attention is limited. These characteristics influences the technology
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is still the best introduction to the economics of the Internet and businesses that use the Internet. It is written by two of the top economists anywhere -- Varian has written one of the top texts on micro economic theory and is not the chief economist for Google. This is a clear and really insightful trade book that is much more informative and most economic and business texts. It is supported by a terrific web site (The Information Economy) and there are supporting materials available for ...more
Deniss Ojastu
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An excellent overview of the economic laws and good-case business practices in the information industry. Helps to understand, for example, why Microsoft or Google has achieved dominance in their respective market, why young consumers don't want to pay for films or music anymore or why the keyboard we are using is like it is.

Due to its date of publication (1999), several examples are somewhat outdated. Discussion about U.S. Governmental policies is a little deductive and not so interesting.

Johnny Galt
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great book on nuts and bolts of business and economics in relation to the internet and computers. This book is a bit dated and much has changed since thie time this book comments on but for the most part it is so thorough in laying groundwork it is informative to read even now. There is potentially no book like it on the subject of computers and economics.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Squeezes many of the 1990s tech business and policy battles into traditional economic theory about lock-in costs, positive feedback, price discrimination etc. Survived the test of time surprisingly well. Although he does suggest the Apple Macintosh could be in trouble, which was largely true, shame about all the other products.
Tarun Rattan
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book is bit dated but does contain a lot of interesting case studies which can be brought forward and superimposed with kids on the block in the current decade. It help explains some of the important tech events in the last few decades and is a useful chronicle to read. Not sure why author did not come out with the revised addition as it would have been so useful for everybody.
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent information\technology strategy read. Really needs an update given when it was published which I'd love to see.
Sridhar Jammalamadaka
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technology
Too good. Learnt so much from this book about network economy.
Robert Grossman
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful book about the impact of the Internet. It is still worth reading.
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
They key takeaway for me is the concept of lock in and how to manage the issue. Few other economics texts I've read so far have articulated the issues and strategies as lucidly as this text.
Frank Thun
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
too basic thoughts for my taste
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Never finished this one. The book jacket promises the arguments are timeless, but they're not. I was disappointed to see them completely disregard piracy as an avenue to explore.
Nicholas Moryl
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Good overview of information economy, albeit a little outdated (it was written in the late 90s).
Lori Grant
An optional-read book on managing technology strategy for managers, executives, and entrepreneurs.
Andy Tan
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Learned a lot. recommend to read.
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it
good book about the (micro) economics of information. network effects, etc.
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Very dated.
Kelvin Chong
rated it it was amazing
Sep 02, 2016
Martin Eigtved
rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2017
Bart De Pelsmaeker
rated it liked it
Apr 16, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Jul 28, 2017
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Jan 18, 2017
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Jan 19, 2009
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“When managing intellectual property, your goal should be to choose the terms and conditions that maximize the value of your intellectual property, not the terms and conditions that maximize the protection.” 1 likes
“The familiar if sad tale of Apple Computer illustrates this crucial concept. Apple has suffered of late because positive feedback has fueled the competing system offered by Microsoft and Intel. As Wintel’s share of the personal computer market grew, users found the Wintel system more and more attractive. Success begat more success, which is the essence of positive feedback. With Apple’s share continuing to decline, many computer users now worry that the Apple Macintosh will shortly become the Sony Beta of computers, orphaned and doomed to a slow death as support from software producers gradually fades away. This worry is cutting into Apple’s sales, making it a potentially self-fulfilling forecast. Failure breeds failure: this, too, is the essence of positive feedback.” 0 likes
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