Technology businesses can be divided into two broad categories (companies with multiple business lines can be in both camps), businesses that:
- develop new technology; or
- integrate new or known technologies obtained from other sources.
The former type of business is more likely to develop pioneer patents, the latter more likely to develop incremental patents (if it develops technology at all). Most businesses, as they mature, tend to become technology integrators, in part because the major technical problems for their sector are largely solved and in part because management tends to become conservative and technology integration as a business strategy is inherently low risk, if potentially less profitable, than new technology development. In the long term technology integration can be a more risky strategy as it becomes difficult to differentiate the integrator’s products and they may as a result become essentially fungible, making the integrator a commodity business.