AOL

Say Farewell to AOL Instant Messenger

AIM, which launched as a standalone service in 1997, introduced many of us to the joys of internet chat for the first time.
Say Farewell to AOL Instant Messenger
Image credit: aol via PC Mag
3 min read
This story originally appeared on PCMag

It's a sad day, '90s kids. AOL Instant Messenger (otherwise known as AIM) is officially shutting down after 20 years.

AIM debuted as part of the America Online desktop internet service, but launched as a standalone offering in 1997, introducing many of us to the joys of internet chat for the first time. But on Dec. 15, 2017, it will be no more, parent company Oath announced. By year's end, you'll no longer be able to access AIM and all user data will be deleted. Aim.com email accounts will not be affected.

"If you were a '90s kid, chances are there was a point in time when AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) was a huge part of your life," Oath wrote in its announcement. "You likely remember the CD, your first screenname, your carefully curated away messages, and how you organized your buddy lists."

The beloved chat service was so ubiquitous that it played a role in movies and TV shows like You've Got Mail (a product placement bonanza) and Sex in the City, as many will remember. But, AIM's user base has been declining for years, thanks to competition from modern chat services and apps like Skype, Google Chat, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and many others.

All good things must eventually come to an end, and this is the end of the road for AIM.

"AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed," Oath wrote. "As a result we've made the decision that we will be discontinuing AIM."

The announcement comes after AOL started scaling AIM back in March when it ended third-party access to the chat service.

Meanwhile, Twitter users have already started reacting to the news; check out what people are saying below.

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