Oath — the combined Yahoo-Verizon entity — is closing that creaky door for the last time today on AOL Instant Messenger, shutting down a mainstay of millions of millennial childhoods.
Oath announced plans to shut down Instant Messenger, or AIM for short, back in October, after ending access from third party clients earlier this year. Today is the last day for the service, which over the years was passed by for more sophisticated chat apps and the smartphone revolution.
— AIM (@aim) October 6, 2017
AIM is where we learned to LOL, ROFL and warn others that we’ll BRB and was a precursor for the litany of chat apps out there today, such as Facebook Messenger, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Slack and many more. It is where some people learned to flirt, and where others stayed connected with friends after moving away.
AIM has taken a long and winding road to this moment. After debuting in 1997, it ruled the online chat market, or chatmosphere as I call it, for more than a decade. Parent company AOL purchased Time Warner in the biggest U.S. merger to date in 2000.
But as internet moved away from dialup and smartphones over took desktops as the primary means of digital communications, AOL’s business declined, and the company spun out in 2009. In 2015, Verizon purchased the company for $4.4 billion.