A feeling of betrayal was my first reaction. On my blog I wrote that "the situation reminds me of the plight suffered by my Irish immigrant ancestors who worked the mills and mines, paid in Scrip redeemable only in the Company Store, essentially no better than indentured servants." The acquisition of the independent services gives more power to The Company. Rather then spend the money to solve asset database server issues they chose to spend money to monetize Residents, further relegating us to the role of revenue streams rather than having us participate in the "Your World, Your Imagination" partnership.
I agree with Hiro Pendragon that shopping malls will suffer unless they are innovative or closely linked to a community such as you see with Rocket City FurMeet, the Isle of Lesbos, and the Raglan Shire malls. The loss of OnRez and the elevation of XStreet to being the official shopping service could lead small-scale merchants to abandon an in-world presence in favor of being only virtually virtual. What would this do to the economy? What would this do to the culture?
Smarter people than me likely have answers to those questions just like they (i.e., Peter Stindberg ... "Hi, Peter! Love your blog!") are much more competent to judge issues like trading Linden Dollars. From my point of view (very small merchant; active shopper; experienced Resident) not having an independent source where I can trade my currency is not a big issue. But rather I liked being able to keep a sizable portion of my funds tucked away off The Company's notoriously unreliable servers. I've seen my Inventory whittled down by server issues and I full well expect to some day see my Linden Dollar balance not recover from a 'Loading ...' state.
The upside of the news? Maybe people using in-world search will find my shop and buy more of my products (Look out, Peter! I sell upwards of L$600 of stuff on XStreet each month). Sure, I'm not trying hard to make a living or earn a lot of money ... mostly I build what I feel like building and price it low to recover my costs and a wee bit more ... but some money is nice. And being able to send purchases to anyone in-world, not just registered service users, will be wonderful. Or will anyone miss having go to a terminal or find a place to rez a wallet to deposit money for a purchase?
Up or down, right or wrong, good or bad, keep this in mind: We don't have a choice. It was taken away from us.