AIM goodbye

AOL will be shutting down AIM after 20 years of existence, on December 15, 2017, the company announced today.

The company said users will be able to use the service until the cut-off date and they will be able to download and install copies of the application until a few days before its end-of-life date.

AOL IDs, emails not affect

AOL said it plans to discontinue the instant messenger's infrastructure only. AOL email addresses (@aol.com) will continue to work as normal after December 15.

Data associated with AIM, such as files and past conversation logs, will also be deleted. AOL has advised users to save any files before the cut-off date.

The company left clues that it was planning to shut down AIM since earlier this year when it cut down access to AIM data to third-party apps.

AOL does not plan to offer a replacement instant messaging client for users.

End of an era after 20 years

The America Online Instant Messaging client, later rebranded as AIM, was the first major IM client to catch with the masses and was soon followed by MSN Messenger, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, and the recent wave of mobile IM clients such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Signal, and others.

The AIM client was never popular outside the US, and it didn't age too well either.

For what's it worth, both AOL and AIM will remain with us as punchlines in many jokes, mainly due to the weird ID patterns that most AOL users couldn't help themselves from choosing, such as FancyB0y87012.

AIM joins MSN Messenger, which Microsoft retired in 2014. Yahoo Messenger is still around, but Yahoo pulled the plug on the original desktop IM client last year, in 2016. The company quickly put together a new desktop app after user backlash, but it never caught on, most users hating it.