A while back, I had written a blog on the convergence of hand-held gadgets in which I had talked about the strategic implications as companies encroach each others turf. A recent article in the Economist shows how this convergence is leading to patent battles. Another post by Nick Bolton in the New York Times includes a few more companies. These figures capture most of it although the semiconductor, mobile infrastructure and other application layer software companies are left out.
What are the implications?
Convergence in technology has to ideally drive down the prices making gadgets more affordable. But royalties from licensing or companies going out of business (which leads to monopoly) may in fact offset that or even increase the prices. In some cases innovation will also get stifled because startups or new entrants will hesitate to take an existing technology forward with the fear of getting sued.