Some of you may recall an article I wrote back in March about AOL’s Instant Messenger (popularly known as AIM) shutting down all third party program access and old versions, which made up a significant chunk of the service’s remaining user base.
At the time of the last article, I expressed the opinion that Verizon, which now owns AOL, was likely to wind down the AIM service entirely soon. AOL was never able to figure out how to monetize its instant messaging service, and after 2012 they stopped updating AIM and allowed it to languish. By then, there was no point in updating it anyway, as texting, Facebook, Google Chat and Skype were replacing the old and out of fashion AIM.
The writing’s been on the wall for years, and now Verizon is going to pull the plug entirely December 15th. Say farewell to AIM:
Now AIM is walking off into the sunset. AOL has announced that it’s shutting down AIM on December 15th.
These days there’s no shortage of other ways to communicate, including from SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple’s Messages, and Google’s Hangouts/Allo/whatever Google decides to launch this week.
When I was in high school I discovered IRC and got addicted to chatting with folks I’d never met in real life (although some became long-term friends) using the precursor to modern instant messaging apps. IRC is still around, but it never really broke out of its geeky niche and usage continues to decline.
Years later I realized things had changed when all of my friends in grad school were chatting away on AIM. We’d sit in our office cubicles feet from one another and send messages through AOL’s service. It wasn’t just for geeks… well, not tech geeks anyway. Grad students are, by definition, a bit geeky.
Chat had gone mainstream(ish) and AIM was one of the reasons.
Thees days, AIM is a bit of a dinosaur that hasn’t been updated (or widely used) for quite some time. So it’s not surprising to see AOL pull the plug. Microsoft’s MSN Messenger shut down a few years ago (although it’s sort of lives on if you imported your contact list to Skype), and Yahoo Messenger went away in 2016.
All good things come to an end. On Dec 15, we’ll bid farewell to AIM. Thank you to all our users! #AIMemories https://t.co/b6cjR2tSuU https://t.co/V09Fl7EPMx