AOL Instant Messenger is shutting down after 20 years


The pioneering chat app that dominated North America at the turn of the century is pulling the plug. On December 15th, AOL Instant Messenger will shut down after running since 1997. After SMS and social apps like Facebook and WhatsApp conquered chat, AOL is giving up the fight with no planned replacement.

“We know there are so many loyal fans who have used AIM for decades; and we loved working and building the first chat app of its kind since 1997” AOL wrote on the AIM help page. “Our focus will always be on providing the kind of innovative experiences consumers want. We’re more excited than ever to focus on building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products.”

TechCrunch reader Daniel Sinclair tipped the shut down to us, which follows the cut off of third-party apps back in March.

“From setting the perfect away message to that familiar ring of an incoming chat, AIM will always have a special place in our hearts” AOL wrote to users in an email. People can download images they sent until December 15th, but the app’s download links will start disappearing now. Unfortunately there’s no way to save or port your buddy list.

Regardless of [Disclosure] TechCrunch being owned by AOL, this moment is bittersweet for me. AIM taught me to write as 12 year old trying to navigate the world of grade-school friendship and romance. It’s what first convinced me that social technology and the Internet would change the way we interact with each other so vividly that it was worth studying and eventually writing about for a living.

So, farewel tol AIM and my embarrassing screen name KDog313. Being a teenager will always sound like one of your incoming messages.

from TechCrunch