RIP AIM: AOL instant messenger is closing down after 20 years


One of the most iconic features of the internet will be no more with AOL deciding to put an end to their instant messenger service AIM.

It is hard to believe that the service is 20 years old and is probably best known for a yellow running man and the incoming message sounds. Sadly, all that will be discontinued within a couple of months.

AIM played a key role introducing “text speak” with “brb”, “lol” and “g2g”. It also paved the way for the popular messaging services that we all use today such as WhatsApp, Line and Messenger.

“If you were a 90’s kid, chances are there was a point in time when AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) was a huge part of your life,” said Michael Albers, head of communications products at parent company Oath. “You likely remember the CD, your first screen name, your carefully curated away messages, and how you organised your buddy lists.”

He added: “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.”

It is worth noting that after the 15 December cut off, when Oath finally pull the plug, it will not be possible to download any of your messages.

AIM was an instant hit in the 1990’s and early 2000s when it feature prominently with MSM Messenger.

Microsoft shutdown MSM Messenger in 2013 and encouraged users to switch to Skype so really AIM has done well to last as long as it has with the modern instant messenger services taking control of the market.


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