Another technology I don't get

According to IBM is making big use of an instant messaging system. Also, Apple has just released its own contender, called iChat, which I guess I will be buying as part of my next OS X upgrade. As with SMS (but even more so) I’ve never seen the appeal of this kind of technology. Used for two-person chat, it seems like an inferior substitute for a voice call. Used for multi-person chat it’s like talking in a crowded bar (as far as I can see most chat rooms are online versions of pickup joints, which fits with this view). And used for exchanging messages, it seems like a cut-rate version of email, with the checking frequency turned up to the max.

The article doesn’t enlighten me – the only stated benefit is a reduction in the load on the email servers. I thought the servers were supposed to reduce the load on us, not the other way around.