It's about time someone stepped in and tried to create a standard protocol for all the instant messaging services. IMUnified is currently teaming up with AT&T, Excite@Home, Odigo and Prodigy Communications, along with Microsoft and Yahoo - both of whom have well-known IM software. AOL Time Warner is still debating whether or not to join the pool with AIM; it claims there are issues with security and privacy.
I personally don't mind having ICQ, AIM, and MSN Messenger open at the same time. They aren't right in front of me, I have all sounds off to keep away all the ignoring "yoo-hoo's", and I only use them whenever I actually need them. Also, all these three applications have different features, and to even think about implementing them all into one sounds like a big bloated piece of software.
ZDNET has an article concerning the new addition of Windows XP into the Windows family, and the confusion the name will cause. There's a lot to keep up with, you have Windows 9x, Windows Me, Windows 2000, companies who still use Windows NT, and now Windows XP. We can forget about Windows 95, it's definitely time to upgrade to Windows 98. But you have to keep Windows 98 because not many are going to want to upgrade to something less, like Windows Me. Finally, Windows 2000 is more for the power/business user, making it a not so good choice for a home user.
What Windows XP will do is provide two versions, similar to the current Windows 98 (Windows XP Personal) and Windows 2000 (Windows XP Professional), which will tie all the Windows into one, making the rest obsolete - excluding Windows 2000, which people will still use for a while, just as people are still using NT4. Will this happen? It all depends on Microsoft. If they can create a piece of software as strong and reliable as both Windows 98 and Windows 2000, then they have a winner, but if they create a useless update like Windows Me, then they're not going to get anywhere until Blackcomb (Windows 2002) comes out.