AOL has refused comment so far, so no word on how they'll react to this latest shot across the bow. My guess is they'll start screwing with the protocols again, like they did in the tiff with Microsoft a few months ago. That's what they seem to do any time somebody tries to take IM users away from them, though from a marketing standpoint, they're at a loss as to what to actually do with the users they have.
From the looks of it, they're not really even interested in making the two IM systems they own (ICQ and AIM) compatible with one another. If they had, this new product (at least with its current available plug-ins) would be a non-issue, as AOL would already have a client capable of communicating with both systems. Irony through inaction.