It's starting to happen more. The Balkanization of the Messaging Platforms. Today Skype announced their open platform approach. Google, with GoogleTalk is also setting to seek a standard via XMPP, something that lets various platforms work together already.
Then you have SIP which is the Voice standard. So instead of everyone being on one standard you have more. Unlike the telephone and their networks that all work together and interconnect with every other one, you now have various interests trying to take centerstage and be the driver of the standards. While I'm all for advancement, I wonder how this will all pan out. Will dollars be the decider, or will what the users want be the final determinator. I'm not sure, as even with all the money in the world in the tech sector neither AOL with IM, nor Yahoo, nor Microsoft's Messenger(s) have become THE standard. Upstart SKYPE sure gained a lot of users faster and seems to have taken that sector by storm, being the first to really drive adoption of Voice by IM users, while all the rest seemed to make it an after-thought. Even now, only Yahoo of the three is making a push, while Microsoft seems to say, we can do that too, yet not really make a big todo of it.
Then there's AOL. They had the world by the you know what's in messaging. ICQ was the SKYPE before there was SKYPE. They also have AIM, but yet it seems they lost focus and neither one seems to be THE cool app that it once was.
Yesterday I coined the phrase ME TOO, ME ALSO, ME DIFFERENT. I think in the products and services sector it's so apropos. Me Too are those that are clones of what someone else does. Me Also are those companies that get into the game much later, say me too, but want to offer their own twists and likely are really adding in functionality. ME DIFFERENT is another breed. Those are products and services that do things that change the way people work or do something. Right now what I see from Google is a lot of Me Too and by sheer fact of what they do some of Me Also. What I'm not seeing from them is any ME DIFFERENT.
The same can be said for VoIP right now. A few companies are doing things different. They Think Different and operate differently. Those are the things I want to see and hear about, and of all the IM and VoIP soft clients it's SKYPE in the consumer space that keeps saying ME Different, yet, at the same time they too are staring to fall into the ME Also category.