Instant messaging, VoIP and standards

The fact that our VoIP provider has a proprietary closed network has bothered me for a while. In their N800 review, Spicy Gadget Roll put it well:

The two instant messengers found in the N800 are Jabber and Google Talk. Both instant messengers are built on open standards, which I whole-heartedly believe in. There’s a lot of confusion as to why these open standards are even relevant. I’d like to clear this confusion up by spending some time on the subject. Think about this for a moment, a Hotmail user can send an e-mail to a Gmail user, a Cingular customer can call a T-Mobile customer, but we can only send instant messages to people within our IM network? Something is awfully wrong with this picture.

IM federation is a great start for fixing the situation. Next we need a proper, open and standardized VoIP solution. There are some contenders for that position, including OpenWengo, Gizmo Project and Google Talk / Jingle. From my point of view all of these come still short, though, as none seem to provide decent video-capable clients for both Mac and Maemo.

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