From Roland Legrand's blog; "The news of the Dutch banks ABN AMRO and ING leaving Second Life is a source of concern for some virtual world watchers. Aleister Kronos on Ambling in Second Life is one of them and he puts it nicely: "Sometimes I get the impression that Linden Lab places rather a lot of emphasis on the “Lab” part of the name. It seems to him that Linden Lab does not really care whether corporates thrive or die in Second Life. Both banks took an innovative and creative apporach to Second Life. It was not dumb mass-marketing. They actually tried to engage the residents and to have a meaning for the community life. Yet both banks decided to leave. Kronos: "I have to wonder whether Linden Lab are simply too detached from both the world they created and the physical world in which they are running a business." My personal take on this? As yet I don’t know the exact reasoning behind the decisions. As I pointed out in my previous post, ABN AMRO is in the process of being taken over by three other banks, and getting dismantled. So maybe this is just not a time for them to focus heavily on some marketing experiment in a virtual world. ING is another matter. They were heavily involved in the Holland Sim after all. But what does this mean for a big financial group? Maybe they were just expecting too much and too fast, and they decided it was not worth the management time to run this experiment because the mass impact is just not there, not in Second Life and not in other virtual worlds. Most people don’t go to those worlds for real world banking. So what on earth can Linden Lab do about this? Maybe it is the better policy to focus on those operations which do flourish, like education for instance or collaboration projects." Philip Rosedale in an interview with CNN MOney already says Linden Lab needs to move from being run like a lab to a business: "Rosedale doesn't deny that Second Life is hard to use, nor that user churn remains a problem. He also says that unscheduled downtime has been as much as twice what he thinks it ought to be in some months this year. "We have to stop being a lab and start being a real business that keeps this service up and running," he says contritely, adding that Second Life needs to become "a kind of stable public utility." One key project - opening data centers outside the United States to improve the user experience for non-Americans." http://money.cnn.com/2007/12/20/technology/kirkpatrick_rosedale.fortune/index.htm?section=magazines_fortune
Perhaps the departure of ex-CTO Corey Ondrejka is a move in that direction.