It’s been a long time in the making, but AOL’s once-popular instant messenger has been shut down. As explained by PennLive, users logged in to their AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) account for the last time on December 15, 2017.
AOL announced plans to shut down AIM several months ago on, ironically enough, Twitter. Many users, however, still felt sorrow seeing the service’s closure. After all, AIM offered a sense of tech nostalgia to which anyone who grew up in the 1990s can relate.
Originally released May 1997, AIM is an instant messaging program that allowed users to chat over the internet in real time. While it had other competitors, including ICQ and Yahoo! Messenger, AIM quickly became the world’s most popular instant messenger. During AIM’s peak in 2006, it boasted an impressive 52 percent share of the instant messenger market.
AIM was hailed for its simplicity and user-friendliness. From tech-savvy users to individuals who’ve never logged in to a messenger service before, it was simple enough for anyone to use. This unmatched simplicity is believed to have helped AIM rise to popularity.
For many internet users, AIM was the first platform requiring the use of a screen name. To chat, users were prompted to create a unique screen name. Today, there are countless apps, programs and services requiring the use of a screen name.
In 2011, however, users began to favor Gmail and Google Chat over AIM. With Facebook Messenger on the horizon, AIM’s usage steadily declined.
So, what prompted AOL to shut down AIM? According to the service’s official website, Oath — the Verizon subsidiary that now owns AOL — wants to focus on building innovative new brands. Some users have continued to stick with AIM even with its declining popularity. With such a small number of users left, though, it only made sense for AOL to say goodbye.