This from Harvard
They seem to back the Hotel California origin, and can't seem to explain the Roach Motel reference! Not conclusive proof yet I agree, but Zeb is offering nothing....
California and Roach Hotels (an aside on bundling, vertical
integration, managed lock-in and reinventing wheels)
"Relax," said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!"
Final lines of The Eagles’ Hotel California,10
The notion of a business ecosystem has become chic in management circles due largely,
we believe, to the success of Apple’s set of complementary and integrated businesses.
Gary Hamel refers to Apple’s business model as an ecosystem and suggests that many
firms could profit by imitating it. The notion of a commercial ecosystem is hot now
although there is little that is new about it and even less that is consistent with natural
ecosystems. The ecosystem is a form of lock-in executed through a proprietary system,
complementary products, and the existence of substantial switching costs.
The casual business jargon terms for what Hamel calls the
ecosystem model are the California Hotel and the Roach
Motel models and these terms may more accurately
describe the intent and operation of a business model
designed to lock customers into a proprietary system with
high exit costs. The Eagle’s hit 1977 song is clearly the
inspiration for the California Hotel terminology but the source of the Roach variant is not
easy to locate. It is typically used in a pejorative manner, as when Larry Ellison derides
his competitor Salesman.com as the, “ultimate vendor lock-in”, in which a customer can
“check in, but can’t check out,” calling it “the roach motel of clouds.”11 The ecosystem,
and the California or Roach Hotel models are typically designed to attract customers with
attractive prices or features and then to lock them in with high exit costs. Exit costs may
be contractual or simply very high transactions costs of changing vendors due to various
The term “ecosystem” is an old concept recycled with a new label. Almost all products
exist within an “ecosystem.” The light bulb is a classic example of a product and its
ecosystem. The idea of the light bulb had been around for some time before Thomas
Edison perfected a sufficiently durable version in 1879. But before Edison could capture
any value from his light bulb, he had to develop or invent the collateral elements of the
system including a reasonably efficient dynamo and a reliable distribution system
including voltage regulation, switches, and fuses. In 1882 Edison completed the electrical