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IBM breaks ground in Second Life

IBM is using the virtual world of Second Life as the next best thing to being there for corporate meetings.

The venerable computer maker has established at least one virtual island in Second Life where it has hosted employee meetings.

Earlier this month, for example, IBM held a virtual block party were people milled around a space called the SkyPOD. For screenshots of IBM's virtual presence, click here.

But this isn't the work of teenage gamers interning at IBM. Researchers are looking at the potential business impact of virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online games.

After attending IBM's Hursley labs in the U.K. last month, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBM's vice president of technical strategy and innovation, said that virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online games remind him of how IBM embraced the Internet and ebusiness a decade ago.

"Once more we have the very strong feeling that this will have a huge impact on business, society and our personal lives, although none of us can quite predict what that impact will be," Wladawsky-Berger wrote in his blog.