The time is coming soon for AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) to sign off for good. Oath, AOL’s parent company announced that the once popular instant messaging platform will be shutting down on December 15th. In 1997 when AIM launched it was widely adopted as the premiere instant messenger. at At the time, AOL was a very popular ISP, which also also helped boost teh number of AIM users. They bundled AIM as part of their AOL Desktop internet software suite. Other classic apps that found success in the era included MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and ICQ. All of these except ICQ, which AOL once owned, have shut down in recent years.
The shutdown of AIM comes as no surprise and the way people communicate has changed since AIM’s launch. Most people today use smartphones, and more modern messaging platforms like Facebook’s Messenger. AOL made several attempts to capture a mobile audience, releasing applications for Windows Phone and later iOS. Despite those efforts, they were unable to compete with more modern communications platforms like Gmail with Google Talk built-in, and Facebook. These social media and integrated messaging solutions made products like AIM redundant. In addition to social media, products like WhatsApp, Kik, Telegram, and Snapchat took large shares of the messaging market in recent years.
For those of us who grew up on the net in the 90’s AIM, and the other messengers had a special place. These applications were the best IM option, at the time. Many of us fondly remember spending hours on them. We also remember the frustrated messages from friends, when we forgot to set a proper away message. Technology is fast-moving, as new innovations are made, old ones fall into disuse. AIM had a great run over its 20-year life. Now, better technology exists, and it is time to make a graceful exit. So, if you still have an account, log on, and go ahead and set your last away message. This one better be your best ever, you have until December to figure it out.
Oh, and, If you are really feeling down about AIM going away, ICQ, which celebrated 20 years last year, is still available.