AOL’S AIM WILL FINALLY BE DECOMMISSIONED NEXT MONTH
Another piece of the 90’s is about to meet its end, at last. So, if you are currently in college, there’s a good chance you don’t know much about the 90’s at all. There’s an even stronger chance you don’t know how had been technological giants then simple linger on today, if in some random form. That’s probably the case with AOL Instant Messenger, called AIM, which is on its way to the digital guillotine next month for good.
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The death sentence for the messaging service usually just referred to as AIM will meet its final end in the middle of December, as announced by Michael Albers, the vice president of communications product at Oath. What was AIM, you ask? It was a messaging service you could use on your desktop, in many ways the same as any typing messager you might use on any platform these days, including the 3 or 4 you may have on your cell phone. But back then there weren’t really too many options. There was AIM, and it worked.
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“We tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” Albers wrote. “As a result we’ve made the decision that we will be discontinuing AIM effective December 15, 2017.” It’s worth noting that AOL is now a part of Oath.
AIM was introduced at first as part of a chat app built into the AOL desktop itself. It launched on its own back in 1997, and it remained dominant even when competitors like Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger came along afterwards. Most people who needed it by then had an AIM account. Why have another? But by 2011, Facebook and Google’s email chat, known as Google Chat or “Gchat,” had eventually gained a significant edge in the market.
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“If you were a 90’s kid, chances are there was a point in time when AOL Instant Messenger was a huge part of your life,” wrote Albers. “You likely remember the CD, your first screen name, your carefully curated away messages, and how you organized your buddy lists.”
“In the late 1990’s, the world had never seen anything like it,” he added. “And it captivated all of us.”
Techies definitely older than undergrads almost immediately began sharing their most cherished AIM memories on Twitter. Others expressed real shock that the application was still used. But that will end a couple weeks after Thanksgiving.