AOL announced today that it has acquired Userplane, a 12-person company focusing on all sorts of corporate-solutions for online live communication (the official details are here). If you didn't know, Userplane is the company which provides with those 'background' IM-clients to already-builtup sites, they're clients include everyone from MySpace to Honda to Date.com to Friendster.
The reason they made is move should be quite obvious…or need I say AIM ALERT, AIM ALERT, AIM ALERT. And this is a really good thing, or to quote them, "Userplane has been dreaming of federated identity and network interoperability with AIM – to bridge the Userplane platform with the AOL network and invent a synergy between open networks and walled-gardens." Finally, someone who gets this stuff.
AOL's been in the news a lot (in fact, too much) lately, and I think it's pretty obvious that they're going through a huge 1.0 -> 2.0 conversion phase right now, and scooping up everything they find while they work on and "lift off" of others as much as they can (while heavily invading their users privacy). And hey, this isn't a bad sign since in the end they know it'll be worth it.