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From ICQ to AIM to WhatsApp: The Rise and Fall of Instant Messenger Apps (Infographic) IM apps have 4ever altered how we communicate. Countless messaging tools have come and gone in the 18 years since they first debuted. Which ones will stand the test of time?

By Kim Lachance Shandrow

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


BION (believe it or not), instant messengers (IMs) have been around for nearly two decades already. AAMOF (as a matter of fact), the very first IM tool -- a chat app for PCs -- debuted in 1996. Cue The Wayback Machine: It was called ICQ, short for I Seek You.

IM apps have come a long way since, giving rise to a whole new digital convo shorthand, endless TMIs, LOLs and LMAOs included. The the following infographic, care of, briefly tracks the history of IM services.

Related: Top 10 Apps For Instant Messaging (Infographic)

From the genre's humble "buddy list" beginnings to today's top trending mobile messaging apps, like Skype and WhatsApp, it's been a bit of a bumpy ride. (Oddly, there's no mention of Kik. WTH?)

Take a trip down IM memory lane below.

Click to Enlarge+
 From ICQ to AIM to WhatsApp: The Rise and Fall of Instant Messenger Apps (Infographic)

Related: Should Your Business Use Instant Messenging?

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Senior Writer. Frequently covers cryptocurrency, future tech, social media, startups, gadgets and apps.

Kim Lachance Shandrow is a senior writer at 

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