With instant messaging (IM) rapidly gaining popularity among internet users, it's use for business purposes is becoming a practical reality. However, with five major protocols vying for the public's attention, choosing one instant messaging application for your business without limiting the amount of customers you are able to communicate with is nearly impossible. Furthermore, having multiple clients for different protocols hogs resources on your workstations, and can cause training headaches for your employees.
This is where one of the real gems of open source desktop applications comes into play. Gaim is, at it's core, an excellent AOL Instant Messanger (AIM) compatible client, and I think anyone with past experience with AIM will find Gaim a comfortable choice as they transition to Linux.
However, Gaim isn't just an AIM client for Linux, it also adds support for the ICQ, Yahoo, MSN, and Jabber IM protocols, making it the perfect choice no matter what protocol you currently prefer. It is also worth noting that the interface remains the same no matter what protocol you are using, meaning that once you train your employees on using Gaim's AIM-like interface, they will be able to comfortably communicate on every single major instant messaging protocol.
In addition to being more efficient, and requiring less training, Gaim also has other features that make it an excellent business IM client. These include excellent HTML-based logging facilities and a simple spell checker. Finally Gaim sports a plug-in component-based architecture, which allows you to customize the amount of available functionality to the exact needs of your employees effortlessly.