There is really one thing sving SL right now: the ability to build. If there were serious competition in this, then people would bleed out of SL very quickly. I know I would.
This key point, that there is an interactivity between users and the world, however borked the economy and software are, is what drives the possibility of VR in the future, how long did it take people to learn HTML? How many people don't know any but use the web. No compare that with the number of people who learn at least a modicum of scripting in SL.
This is what this article is missing. SL is not 3D, it is 6D. Time, scripitng and people are the other dimensions. Just like the real world, it isn't just the static space, but how it moves. It is how people use that space.
Second Life, and any vr system which gives people the ability to work through the implications of a building or idea with people using it. Not just for bricks and mortar, but for structures and systems.
This ability, to test ideas, viral code and ideas, in a world filled with people trying to get the things they need and want, is invaluable.
And that is what IBM and others who see the long term of SL are here for.