This December AIM will follow the dial-up modem into the sunset
It has been announced by AOL, now under the umbrella of Oath/Verizon, that AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) will shut down on the 15th of December, after twenty years of activity. AIM was first released to the public in 1997, and for around a decade it was one of the dominant forces in instant messaging, competing against MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger.
While the others were popular internationally, AIM was undoubtedly the favorite in North America. AIM was used by both teenagers and adults, in social and business settings, and ex-users will have many happy memories associated with the software plus the iconic ‘running man’ logo. However, it isn’t surprising that AIM is shutting down now. Like the social networks of Bebo and MySpace, AIM quickly lost users in the late 2000’s, with people switching to dedicated business applications for professional usage, and services such as Facebook’s integrated messenger for social interactions. After all, one of the things that made AIM dominant was that all your contacts also used the service, and Facebook combining the social network and the chat into one location had the same powerful draw for customers. Much of the development team was pulled from AIM many years ago, and the user base decreased despite mobile versions of the service.
The official announcement tweet from @aim says “All good things come to an end. On Dec 15, we'll bid farewell to AIM. Thank you to all our users!” In response to questions via Twitter, AOL has stated that users can log on at any point before the shutdown to download their old chat logs, meaning you will always have a record of that lame catch phrase your friend kept trying to make a thing. The hashtag #AIMemories has been made for users to reminisce about the service.