The trifecta is complete. Apple has always made its own hardware and software (they even now make their own microprocessors). Google bought Motorola's mobility division so that it could also control the total user experience. And now, the most shocking news: Microsoft, the poster child of divided ecosystems, will combine its software / OS business with Nokia's device business under one roof. Compare this to the old model for the PC business--Microsoft owns OS and software, Intel owns chips, and consumer electronics companies own computers--and the shift could not be more dramatic. What explains this titanic change in accepted industry strategy? Consumer experience.
Microsoft and Google made their moves because they realize that, more than anything, consumers value and will pay for experiences. They value experiences more than megahertz (sorry Intel). And they value experiences more than standardization (sorry Windows). Consumers crave elegance, simplicty, and meaning and they don't care that products are made of molecules and apps are made of bits. They want it all to hang togehter. The only way to get that is if the hardware, software, and services are designed under one roof. Of course, just combining these elements together into a single organization doesn't guarantee a good experience. You also must have a unified vision and approach to experience design. But it's a step in the right direction.
More than anything else, the Microsoft / Nokia merger and Google's acquisiton before that, prove that experience design is the way of the future. So if your product innovation and design process builds walls between different parts of the consumer experience--if you aren't bringing your digital, your product, and your services people together with a common vision and purpose--then you are officially missing the boat. It doesn't mean you are drowning yet, but treading water only works for so long.