Vendor lock-in

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In economics, vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in or customer lock-in, makes a customer dependent on a vendor for products, unable to use another vendor without substantial switching costs.

The use of open standards and alternative options makes systems tolerant of change, so that decisions can be postponed until more information is available or unforeseen events are addressed. Vendor lock-in does the opposite: it makes it difficult to move from one solution to another.

Lock-in costs that create barriers to market entry may result in antitrust action against a monopoly.