Re: Why why oh why
It would seem that you aren't involved in the modern IP game. The name of the game is numbers; companies amass patent portfolios and cross-license them to each other. Nobody has the desire to sit and evaluate 40,000 individual patents for their and haggle over their relative value, so the measure used is one recognizable on any kindergarten playground - the count. You might be surprised at how small an idea can be to be patentable -- the standard at one company I worked at was that any idea that would take over 30 seconds to explain to a colleague met the standard of novelty for filing a patent. With the old IBM system, 3-4 patent filings for $1200 is in line with what a my former company was paying 20-25 years ago for just putting words on a page (a successful patent garnered another bonus). The patent process is expensive, and not every little idea merits the protection of that sledgehammer, so the company can buy some cheap insurance by publishing the idea to establish prior art.
This game was a nice side-hustle for engineers. At that other company 20-25 years ago, a group could go to lunch and come back with a couple of ideas, type them up, and get a quick $600. Not all ideas are going to create the next $100 billion industry, and most ideas are not going to recoup the cost of filing for a patent (unless you are trying to cross-license your patent portfolio to Microsoft); most of the "innovations" were worth about what the company paid for them.