Software Convergence

by Luke Wroblewski July 25, 2004

Not only are we seeing convergence in digital devices (cell phone, mp3 player, digital camera) and digital platforms (Desktop & Web), but we also find it in digital products.

Adobe’s Creative Suite and Macromedia’s Studio are good examples of software integration strategies (though each still keeps applications separated by function). The P2P world, however, has begun to converge software functions:

“The newest social networking services merge three powerful Web functions - auctioning, file-sharing, and friend-of-a-friend socializing - to build digital barter economies. Think of them as eBay crossed with Napster, then injected with Friendster DNA.”

Of course the same advantages and disadvantages of convergence apply: each function potentially adds benefits but too many different interaction models can increase complexity as well. Also, the potential of these systems has yet to be realized, as none of the products cited as early examples have a full feature set (auctions, file-sharing, social networking) yet.