Read this from Wire magazine:
This is the clearest explanation I have read regarding the present and future of the 3D printing market. This would include why some of the machines look and perform the way they do and why prices on the machines and materials for established companies are so high. It also explains why some of the new upstarts seem to be limited in what they can offer because of the fear that they will be infringing on the patents owned by the established players. What would appear to be friendly competition the past few years, with much cheaper machines and materials from the upstarts, is really rather nasty with the start of patent infringement litigation by the big boys.