IBM has made the move of announcing plans to make its Lotus business software suite compatible with several popular internet chat platforms, including AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk. Essentially, users of IBM’s Lotus Sametime chat program will be able to connect and chat with anyone using any of these IM networks. The use of IM in the business arena has continued to grow, with many seeing the technology as a viable alternative to conference calls and videoconference meetings.

"In today’s increasingly global economy, the speed of business has increased dramatically, which has made real-time collaboration tools a critical aspect of daily work life," IBM said. "Customers increasingly rely on tools such as instant messaging, web conferencing and other real-time technologies to share knowledge and quickly react to market changes and opportunities."