From The Editors Technology

AOL Instant Messenger Bids Adieu after Two Decades

The inevitable has become official!

In a rather sad announcement, AOL has made public its decision to discontinue the once popular instant messaging service AIM on December 15, 2017 – twenty years after it stormed the online instant messaging scene in 1997.

It was not unexpected, though, as the online chat tool was struggling to hold its own among players of the caliber of WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and the likes.

AIM, it must be said, owes its demise to its failure to evolve with the changing times – a fact acknowledged by Michael Albers, VP of Communications Product at Oath – in his Friday announcement of the shutdown.

Oath, by the way, is owned by Verizon which acquired AOL and Yahoo in June 2015 and June 2017, respectively.

“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed. As a result, we’ve made the decision that we will be discontinuing AIM effective December 15, 2017,” Albers wrote in a blog post.

“Thank you to all of our AIM users. And definitely stay tuned as we’re fired up to provide more products and experiences that people around the world love,” he concluded.

The shutdown was a foregone conclusion from the time AOL cut-off third party access to Instant Messenger in March this year.

“We see that you’ve used AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) in the past, so we wanted to let you know that AIM will be discontinued and will no longer work as of December 15, 2017,” the AOL Instant Messenger team wrote in an email to its users

“We’ve loved working on AIM for you. From setting the perfect away message to that familiar ring of an incoming chat, AIM will always have a special place in our hearts. As we move forward, all of us at AOL (now Oath) are excited to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world,” the email further said.

AIM arrived on the online chat scene in the late 1990s with a bang!

The company included the chat service as a stand-alone app in 1997 after initially making it available only on AOL Desktops. For almost a decade, AOL Instant Messenger maintained its popularity as the leading player in the messenger game, in North America. Its main competitors in its best days were Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, and ICQ.

Things started going south for AIM in the late 2000s, when the app started losing ground to a new generation of competition including Google’s GChat, Facebook’s Messenger, WhatsApp, SnapChat, etc.

Being the technical powerhouse that it is, AOL’s apparent failure to match the competition is inexplicable.

Be as it may, the fact remains that AIM is in its last few breaths and soon the world will have seen and forgotten the end of a champion messenger service.

RIP, AOL Instant Messenger!


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