Digital Convergence and business models

The interesting fact about digital convergence is that many things can change, disrupting existing players,  and industries.
Established business models are not anymore valid and are challenged.

A simple example.

Apple has just announced that the upgrade to the new version of their OS Mavericks will be FREE, and people that will buy their devices will also get the iWork productivity suite for FREE (Page, Numbers and Keynote). Money are made on the hardware.

In the meantime, Google is giving all its software for FREE and eventually selling its hardware at cost, making money with ads.

Amazon, is selling its hardware at cost, making money on the content sold through its devices.

Microsoft makes money on the software that all the others are now giving away for FREE.

And the FREE software or the FREE hardware is actually great, not bad copies of the paid versions. Let’s be clear, nothing is really FREE. They are only monetizing in a different way using asymmetrical business models, that is giving something for free, while making money with something else.

That’s the challenge for Microsoft that used to get paid for what it sold, software. And probably that’s the reason it has acquired Nokia. With hardware and software it can decide to monetize in different ways. Will it be enough?