AIM’s days are numbered! AOL Instant Messenger, an iconic chat application, will go dark on December 15. Verizon, which has owned AOL in 2015 and joined it into a unit dubbed Oath this year, stated that it is seeking new services to replace the instant messenger.
It has been two decades since the inception of AOL Instant Messenger. Trusted and used by trillions of people, the messaging service has taken the world by storm. Primarily, the chat experience integrated into AOL desktop, AIM has debuted as a standalone app in 1997. Its iconic Away Messages were the ancestor to the modern tweets and status updates. AIM confronted for supremacy with rivals like Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, and Microsoft MSN. But finally, Facebook and Google’s GChat took over AIM. This led to AOL’s fall from grace going from being valued at $224Bn in today’s era to just $4.4Bn when it was sold to Verizon in 2015.
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And now, the parting moment has come; AOL Instant Messenger is about to be rapt to heaven. The company has set one last away message to AOL thanking all of its loyal fans for making a chat history.
— AIM (@aim) October 6, 2017
Michael Albers, VP of Communications Product at Oath, wrote in a blog post,
“Our yellow running man is ready to retire.”
He further explained the reason why AOL Messenger is going to shut down now after its glorious journey of 20 years. Albers wrote,
“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed.”
AOL has discontinued access to AIM from third-party chat clients back in March, giving a clue at this eventual shutdown. However, if you were a 90’s kid, chances are AOL Instant Messenger was an enormous part of your life. Even after two decades later, memories of the instant messaging and VoIP service still rattle through users’ cultural consciousness.
However, with the proliferation of smartphones, everything has changed. Text messaging has taken over for desktop instant messengers and increasingly, we’re seeing other social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. So, it’s easy to romanticize AIM seeing as we don’t use it anymore and its main role today is as nostalgia fodder.
In many ways, AIM’s inevitable death is quite a logical decision, but the instant messenger has surely reserved a soft corner in its users’ heart. So, it’s fair to give a farewell to the yellow running man. People across the globe are reminiscing their experience with AOL on Twitter with the hashtag #AIMemories.
RIP AOL Instant Messenger!
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