AOL Instant Messenger Is Shutting Down After A Tumultuous 20-Year Run

aol AIM
Let's pour one out for one of the first instant messaging applications that many of us ever knew. As a freshman in college, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) became a quick way for me to keep in contact with friends across campus, setup study groups or just chat for hours on end. And you couldn't walk down any dorm hall in the evening without hearing the distinctive sounds of messages being sent and received.

Well, after a twenty-year run, AOL has announced that AIM will go offline permanently on December 15th, 2017. You can blame the death of AIM on the rise of text messages and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat. Our social interactions are also dominated by the likes of Twitter and Facebook (and to a lesser extent, Google+).

"We know there are so many loyal fans who have used AIM for decades; and we loved working and building the first chat app of its kind since 1997," says AOL in a help page that has been setup to comfort longtime AIM users. "Our focus will always be on providing the kind of innovative experiences consumers want. We’re more excited than ever to focus on building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products."

At the moment, there is no replacement lineup for AIM, but users can still use the existing app until the December 15th execution date. AOL does note that your email addresses will still work after AIM is shutdown, but your data (including images) will be deleted after December 15th. If you have images tied to AIM, AOL urges you to manually save them to your computer. Your chat logs can also be saved.

Michael Albers, VP of Communications Product at Oath, posted the following obituary for AIM:

If you were a 90’s 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.

HotHardware readers, sound off in our comments sections about your interaction with AIM. If you are of a certain age, the messaging app probably holds a special place in your techie heart...