The university that I attended (and worked at for a while) has been renting textbooks through the campus-run bookstore since my father went to school there (about 35 years). The concept is not new. What will be interesting though will be seeing how some of the textbook retailers (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.) will respond to a more public method of renting books. Personally, I'm more interested in increasing the popularity of electronic textbooks than I am traditional textbook distribution......
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There is plenty of original IP associated with MMO games these days..... but most of that IP comes from game developers outside of the U.S. I have seen some really good IP coming out of Asia, but the ideals that the IP brings forth clashes with the American culture, and therefore usually fails when an introduction is attempted.
I have been a fan of the Spark Client and Openfire Server as an IM platform for quite sometime. They are built on the XMPP and Jabber protocols. After being in a corporate environment before, I know it's hard to convince management to go with an OSS solution as they seem to think that if it doesn't have a price tag, it's not secure. The Spark/Openfire platform come in an 'Enterprise' flavor with support to appease management as well. Both the client and server are built on a plug-in style architecture, so it's pretty easy to include your own software add-ins. There are really too many features for me to really go into though.