With Microsoft retiring Windows Live Messenger in 1Q2013, I am looking for a new IM tool and decided to look for a tool that supports multiple different IM protocols/networks (i.e. Google Talk, Yahoo, AIM, etc.). Has anybody done any extensive research on this topic? Most of the reviews that I am finding are from 2010 and I am hoping that somebody can point me to exhaustively comprehensive comparative reviews/evaluations done in the last 6 months on the current versions of each package. I do not have any Apple products so the tool does NOT have to be compatible with any iAnything products. It does need to run on Windows 7. Would prefer something that supports voice and video chat as well as text IM. Free would be best (since I think that there are several options that are free), but I would not be opposed to spending a few dollars a year for support.
It seems like the likely contenders are
Ideally, would like a tool that would actually allow me to use multiple different logins on a single protocol/network as well as supporting multiple different protocols/networks (I have different IDs for different communities on the same service). But I am not sure whether this is even possible much less implemented anywhere?