I just dont get this article on Mashable about why IM conglomeration is a waste of time – there hasn’t been much innovation in IM clients for ages – just the bare minimum. Today, the only reason for me to use anything other than WLM is to talk to people on other networks – equally its a big barrier for me to change client as most of my major contacts are not there. Imagine if i could talk to any network using a single client.. suddenly it’s all about how good the client is, not about how many people are using it. Now that’s competition and there is nothing like that to encourage innovation.
So where is the business sense to partner? Well you could argue that a stagnant business is one that will fail eventually – hence the minor improvements but nothing too risky in case they blow it – interoperability doesnt mean everyone will leave unless your product is bad and if it is well you lose anyway. In Microsoft’s case, when it partnered with Yahoo, it solved a couple of issues. It allowed it to shout about how open it was and also mitigated a threat from Google Talk. Now everyone else must follow suit or lose audience.