Chinese virtual world developer HiPiHi has partnered with international information technology powerhouse IBM. The collaboration is essentially twofold, a spokesperson from HiPiHi tells us.
First, IBM is to provide hardware, services, and consultation on scalable architecture, essentially "battle-tested solutions". IBM's obviously getting into virtual worlds, and is too big and too experienced to put all of its eggs in one basket.
Secondly, there's collaboration on virtual world interoperability standards, which started out as a broad set of agreements last year, and some collaborative coding on CHTTP-and-escrow conducted by Linden Lab and IBM. Information-tech industry standards of any size or complexity generally take over a decade to formalize, and quite some more years to gain useful levels of adoption - so that's a much longer game to play.
HiPiHi's worth watching, despite it largely being under the radar at the moment. And we will certainly be keeping an eye on it.