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AOL is shutting down AOL Instant Messenger


By Haley Velasco, Freelance journalist

October 6, 2017 | 3 min read

If you were a computer user in the late 90s, you probably dabbled with chat through AOL’s AIM. The instant messaging system, which got its start in 1997, will be officially shutting down on December 15.

AOL is shutting down AIM

AOL is shutting down AIM

No more buddy lists. No more old messages. No more chats. The platform will cease to exist and the company says that they don’t have a replacement in the works.

“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. You likely remember the CD, your first screenname, your carefully curated away messages, and how you organized your buddy lists. Right now you might be reminiscing about how you had to compete for time on the home computer in order to chat with friends outside of school. You might also remember how characters throughout pop culture from 'You’ve Got Mail' to 'Sex and the City' used AIM to help navigate their relationships. In the late 1990’s, the world had never seen anything like it. And it captivated all of us,” said Michael Albers, vice president of communications product at Oath, in a statement.

He added that the platform made technology available to users and caused a cultural shift.

“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” he said. “We are more excited than ever to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world.”

This complete shutdown isn’t a total surprise. AOL shut down access to AIM from third-party chat clients back in March, hinting at this eventual shutdown. In the market, MSN Messenger shut down in 2014 and Yahoo shut down its old messenger last year before releasing a new version.

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