AOL kills Instant Messenger

Chris Burns - Mar 14, 2012, 2:24pm CDT
AOL kills Instant Messenger

Likely the very first non-email application you ever used to speak with your friends and relatives is about to be shut down for good, AOL Instant Messanger, aka AIM, has been all but slashed entirely from the AOL family. This application’s 40 employees in charge of development as well as everything outside of basic maintenance has been let go entirely. While support staff for the ecosystem will remain, no future upgrades to the software will exist from this point on.

The original chat program that took hold of what seemed like the entire western world throughout the 1990s and early 2000s will be sorely missed by those inventors of such epic phrases as LOL and LMFAO. Many replacements have popped up since the birth of the AIM platform including Skype and Facebook’s own chat service, these rendering AOL’s version of person to person “instant” chat all but extinct.

These layoffs come amid a few other waves of similar person-cutting from the ranks of AOL in recent months, this leading the public and analysts to predict service cuts (such as these) to occur sooner than later. With the death of AIM comes the movement of the social networking world past the most basic form it took (in a popular sense), and here we move on to the much more dominant social network world of Facebook, Google+, and straight up text messaging with smartphones. Will you miss AOL’s instant messenger platform when it gives its final kiss goodbye?

[via Complex]


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69 Responses to AOL kills Instant Messenger

    • There’s nowhere to “repurpose” them…AOL is not the booming metropolis of an internet company anymore…

  1. Skype chat is not instant. Sometimes it takes hours to send a message when both parties are online. That’s a bug that has existed for many users for a long time, too.

  2. Wow, this makes me sad. I leave it running all the time so my mom can
    look at her computer and see I’m still online! Plus, a few of my old
    AOL friends still pop up there even though we haven’t communicated for
    15 years or so :(

  3.  As a Norwegian i never touched AIM. I used ICQ until Microsoft bundled MSN Messenger with Windos 98 or there about. At that point it seems that everyone and their dog jumped onto Messenger, forgoing ICQ and IRC alike.

    • As an American of German lineage living in Canada I didn’t understand what being Norwegian has to do with your choice.

      • AOL is also known as America Online. A big US “ISP” (it actually started out as its own walled garden that later opened up a gateway to the net itself). But basically unknown in Norway at the time. And AIM was in essence part of the AOL package. Hell, even using ICQ was something of a curiosity. Only with Microsoft bundling Messenger did Instant Messaging use spike in Norway.

      • As an American living in America, I can’t understand why you bring nationalities into the conversation.

        • I’ll try to explain. I am living in Ukraine and I didn’t hear about AIM service until I’ve got a job in American-owned company 11 years ago and started using it as a daily communication tool. Before that, me and all my friends were using ICQ, which was by that time the most popular instant messaging service in Europe (or, taking it wider, outside USA).

  4. bad intel.  they cut the staff so they could increase profit.  they arent going to just kill a service that generates $50mm in revenue annually.

  5. I remember when AIM and 3 way calling was the coolest thing in the world. I also remember being pissed whenever I was on AIM and someone picked the phone up to make a phone call. “Hang up the phone I’m talking with my friends online!!!” 

  6. Bummer. My wife and I still communicate through our AIM addresses every day. I use Trillian to access my account and my wife uses Meebo (neither of us uses the actual AIM client). It’s really useful for us both. If AOL actually shuts down the service, we’ll have to use Windows Messenger, I guess.

  7. Wait, so let me get this straight. They just let go of the one untarnished product that could have stood a chance to make money? All to save just the cost of 40 employees?

    Ariana Huffington is quite possibly the worst thing that could have /ever/ happened to that company.

  8. Oops, this is going to pull down Apple’s iChat along too. Well, I guess that’s why iChat is transitioning to Messages.

  9. Uhh, what’s AOL? 

    Oh yea, it’s that sh***y old isp that I had way back in the day. The one that wouldn’t cancel my service and kept me on hold for three hours.
    The same one that kept sending me CD’s in the mail and begging me to come back, even after 4 years.

    Hmmm, wonder why they’re struggling?

  10. Author, you’re a bit late reporting on this. But you use the word “kill.” If AOL has really killed it, why would they retain support personnel? Can you offer a source on that kill? Did you investigate?

  11. I think AIM still has a place. What I would love to see eliminated is AOL’s bloated and buggy desktop software which I think is up to like version 9.5 now and getting more bloated each time. AOL users can get everything they need, email and AIM directly through AOL’s website or via the AIM application.
    Also AOL has been lining its pockets by managing to milk so many of its long term users by not making it apparent that they can switch to an AOL free service plan if they have broadband and thus many are still paying 24 bucks a month but have been connecting via broadband for years now. The paid plans are for dialup and paid telephone support only. They have no other purpose.
    As a computer tech who has helped 100’s of residential consumers, I can’t tell you how many times customers of mine look at me with a shocked look when I tell them that they don’t have to pay to use AOL and they can keep their AOL email and everything else that goes with it. These customers have been paying $14 to $24 a year to AOL for the better part of a decade or so and yet have been on broadband all that time. They had no idea they didn’t need to do that. Of course I’ve switched all of them over to the free services, but I do explain to them that they will lose AOL phone support. Also I try to get them to stop using AOL Desktop and get used to using a real Internet browser like FF, Chrome or IE.

  12. ::sigh:: AOL just bought Thing Labs, the folks behind Brizzly, Plinky, and 5Min EXPLICITLY to work on the new AIM. Check the Thing Labs blog – they’re moving over to support and build the next versions of the official AIM product, not that anyone even uses it anymore. Still, AOL didn’t “kill” AIM. They probably fired the old staff to make room for the new team…that they just bought.

    Honestly guys. Research. Does a blog good.

  13. See what happens when you let Time Warner Cable’s wrinkled old fingers touch your junk? R.I.P. AOL

  14. AIM will always hold a special place in a lot of our minds.. my earliest experiences on the internet, circa 1994, were using AOL and going into the chat rooms and talking to the the mystery “girl” on the other end. Then, around 1997 AIM came out and it seemed a like a really big deal to avoid even “signing” into AOL to talk to someone.

  15. i don’t miss AOL AIM at all !
    i have not used it that much and will be most happy 
    to delete it from my computer cuz i have Skype
     and FaceTime !

  16.  They’re not shutting down the service.  They’re just not coming out
    with newer versions.  Which is fine, they should have stopped updating
    the program 6-7 years ago.

  17. AOL may be old and outdated but I still know many, many non-tech savvy friends who use it on a daily basis.  Does this mean that the entire service is being shut down or just development of their IM client?

  18. America On Line messenger ground breaking roots from myself, Bob Blockus. It was centered around how humans can interact with one another far better than basic old-world email. We think logic to be sometimes thinking together tied into a web at a split second. Think about more upgrades to America On Line messenger, Thank you. 

  19. Psh :c

    I’ve been using AIM and AOL for years, I hate facebook chat
    At least AIM works on my phone..

  20. It’s as though Facebook has taken away everything—I never imagined the day that the former America Online could become essentially the Huffington Post, which is what it is now.

  21. It’s still the best chat service available.  Skype is glitchy and delays messages.  Facebook chat is a joke.  The only way I can use FB chat effectively is to sign on with AIM.  Sad stuff…been using this thing for 13 years.

  22. Everyone is not on facebook, google or other social networks. I love aim because I don’t have to sign in anywhere else when I want to send someone a message this way. I want be joining any social networks because I have a life and I don’t think it’s anyone’s business what I had for lunch. I just want to send a quick message and get off the computer not else. Shame on AOL.!!!!!

  23. Wow, what I was trying to say is, I will not be joining other social outlets so I guess I will have to use a regular phone. Hate cell phones too!!. I’m getting old so maybe that’s my problem too.

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