Information Rules
A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy

Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian

Information goods—from movies and music to software code and stock quotes—have supplanted industrial goods as the key drivers of world markets. Confronted by this New Economy, many instinctively react by searching for a corresponding New Economics to guide their business decisions. Executives charged with rolling out cutting-edge software products or on-line versions of their magazines are tempted to abandon the classic lessons of  economics, and rely instead on an ever-changing roster of trends, buzzwords, and analogies that promise to guide strategy in the information age.

Not so fast, say authors Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian. In Information Rules, they warn managers, "Ignore basic economic principles at your own risk. Technology changes. Economic laws do not." Understanding these laws and their relevance to information goods is critical when fashioning today’s successful competitive strategies. Information Rules introduces and explains the economic concepts needed to navigate the evolving network economy.

The first book to distill the economic principles of information and networks into practical business strategies, Information Rules will help business leaders and policy makers—from executives in the entertainment, publishing, hardware, and software industries to lawyers, finance professionals, and writers—make intelligent decisions about their information assets. Drawing from twenty-five years of economic research and their own experiences as consultants, academics, and government officials, the authors explore the underlying economic forces that determine success and failure in the Network Economy. With its detailed case studies, historical examples, and lucid explanations of key economic concepts, Information Rules explains how to:

Shapiro and Varian look beyond the information-age hype served up by today’s pundits and prognosticators, and offer instead durable economic principles that have proven their effectiveness through decades of practice. Information Rules is an eminently useful guide that provides a deeper understanding of the fundamental forces at work in today’s—and tomorrow’s—information economy.