Technology Choice and Coalition Formation in Standards Wars

We study the efficiency of the standard‐setting process when standards result from competition between groups of firms sponsoring different technologies. We show that ex ante agreements may decrease welfare in the case of standards wars: Even though industry profits are larger with ex ante agreements, welfare is not necessarily larger, because the interests of firms and society may not be aligned. This result contrasts with the findings of previous works studying de jure monopoly standards. Including adopters in the standard‐setting process may restore the efficiency of ex ante agreements.