Twenty years after launching as a download for Microsoft Windows computers in 1997, AOL Instant Messenger will be officially discontinued from December 15, 2017. AOL parent company Oath announced the end of AIM in a blog post earlier this morning, celebrating with a nostalgic recollection of how big the messaging platform was in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
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.
AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed. As a result we’ve made the decision that we will be discontinuing AIM effective December 15, 2017.
There are still plans to "continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products," Albers said, similar to what AIM did for instantaneously messaging friends in the early days of the internet. No further specifics were given as to what the company might launch next.
Last month, AIM was also removed as a chat option from Apple's Messages app in macOS High Sierra, providing another hint that many users no longer logged into the service. Over the years, there have also been AIM apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.