← Back to Network View

Card image cap
Lock-in 27#

Customers are locked into a vendor's world of products and services. Using another vendor is impossible without incurring substantial switching costs, and thus protecting the company from losing customers. This lock-in is either generated by technological mechanisms or substantial interdependencies of products or services.


Apply this pattern to your own business and create your next innovative business model!

Examples: Iconic Cases

How they do it: Apple has created an ecosystem of hardware and software combinations. For example can the native music app of the iPhone only be connected through the Apple software iTunes. This creates a lock-in effect, also when the user wants to synchronize other media across devices.
Learn more about Apple iPhone/AppStore →

How they do it: Gillette pioneered the system of single-use razorblades as consumables. By being the only manufacturer of razor blades compatible with its razors, customers have no choice but to buy Gilette’s razorblades once they own the razor.
Learn more about Gillette →

How they do it: By providing the most used operating system for personal computers, Microsoft has the advantage to create an environment which prefers their other software solutions such as Internet Explorer or the Office package over competing products. Also, the programs on a Microsoft operating system are ususally not compatible with other operating systems from companies such as Apple or Linux. Hence customers have a barrier to switch to another operating system as they would loose their software programs.
Learn more about Microsoft →

How they do it: Lego parts allow individual recombination of the parts. However this recombination is only possible with other official Lego parts and no other toys. This leads to a lock-in for customers, as the size of an existing Lego collection determines also the value of new Lego products, as the recombination possibilities are increasing.
Learn more about Lego →

How they do it: Once a customer owns a Nintendo console, the only games compatible are the ones licensed by Nintendo itself. This means that Nintendo generates additional revenue with every game sold. It is generally not possible to run 3rd party games on the console which are not certified by Nintendo.
Learn more about Nintendo →