AOL INSTANT Messenger, better known to most as AIM, is to close after twenty years.
For many, their first experience of instant messaging, AIM is the latest victim of the streamlining going on at the new AOL-Yahoo conglomeration Oath.
"AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed," said Oath Head of Comms Michael Albers.
"As a result we've made the decision that we will be discontinuing AIM effective December 15, 2017. We are more excited than ever to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world."
AIM had been in decline for some time and hadn't been formally supported since 2012, but closing down the servers is a symbolic end to one of the iconic apps of the nineties.
Remember your screen name? No, us neither.
The Instant Messenger market has fragmented in recent years as companies look for more rich content and video calling offers. Windows Messenger (MSN) was usurped by Skype, whilst AIM's sister product Yahoo Messenger still limps along, we can't imagine its terminal manoeuvres are too far behind.
Meanwhile, Google has a variety of different IM/video chat apps on the go for reasons best known to itself.
Back in the day, most messengers used the common Jabber standard, meaning that users could have a single interface with all their different conversations, but as companies have moved onto their own bespoke systems (kicked off by Google's Hangouts expanding from the compliant GTalk app) then you're also stuck with lots of competing systems, with different friends and contacts on each.
AIM still has its fans, but in general, it's a relic of another time, and so as Oath tries to work out exactly what it is under the auspices of Verizon's greedy mitts, certain things are going to start to disappear.
AOL attempted to simplify the web using "keywords" instead of full web addresses, something that is now achieved by nimble use of SEO. µ
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