A Microsoft product manager says that the future of IM is all companies managing the identities of people inside their organization, and the usage of a clearinghouse to broker connections between organizations. That certainly seems like a more reasonable approach than what we have today — people using public IM (totally insecure) or internal systems that don’t offer connectivity to external organizations. These days I’m amazed at any company, especially those that have remote offices, that don’t have a company standard IM system that people can use. IM is just too useful for getting work done and asking quick questions not to be used more widely in a corporate setting. I can’t think of too many circumstances where I’d prefer getting a phone call to an IM conversation.