January 12, 2015

Two wireless charging alliances announce merger

Consumers have long awaited the day when charging a smart phone becomes completely wireless. From remembering to tote around cords to scrambling to find a suitable outlet in coffee shops, charging tech gadgets presents a mild inconvenience in daily lives. 

Two companies that have devoted themselves to making wireless charging a reality have announced a merger. The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and Power Matters Alliance (PMA) are research and development firms with members in the tech industry. While they've long been at odds pursuing breakthroughs in wireless charging technology, combining their efforts could help put the technology on shelves sooner. 

A4WP is backed by more than 140 tech companies who've invested in its pursuit of a reliable, affordable charging solution for the marketplace. PMA, on the other hand, works with 70 companies on similar technology, including AT&T and Starbucks. With wireless charging stations outfitted for certain mobile cases in some Starbucks locations, the company has expressed a strong interest in bringing the service to more of its customers. 

Restructuring and integration are expected to happen between the two firms later this year, and executives who do business with A4WP and PMA are optimistic about the possible R&D acceleration. 

"It basically says we are all around the table," said Alex Gruzen, chief executive of WiTricity, to The Wall Street Journal. "We are going to deliver a great pathway for consumers."

This week, both organizations are showing off new inductive charging technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. While the merger is bound to create new opportunities for innovation, observers also describe it as a kind of cease-fire. From sworn competitors to new partners, mergers and acquisitions in technology can transform relationships to pursue common goals.