AOL Instant Messenger to be Discontinued on December 15

Users difficult to sign in and all data deleted

AOL has announced that it is discontinuing its pioneering AOL Messenger chat platform after 20 years of service. An article on AOL’s website posted Friday says AOL Instant Messenger will be discontinued on December 15.

In a blog post, a spokesman for AOL’s parent company explained the platform’s demise as the casualty of the evolving way people communicate.

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“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” wrote Michael Albers, vice president of communications at Oath.

Users difficult to sign in and all data deleted

The program will still function until December 15. After that date, users difficult to sign in and all data deleted. AOL says people with an email address will still be able to use it.

AOL Instant Messenger at the forefront of what called at the time the biggest trend in online communication since email. The platform, which provided instant access to friends and contacts on a user’s “buddy list,” was wildly popular for the first few years after its launch. It claimed more than 100 million registered users in 2001.

AOL was fiercely protective of its dominance in the instant messaging market. It fended off rivals, including Microsoft, by blocking their messaging platforms from communicating with AOL users. Its actions prompted a coalition of rivals to complain to the federal government ahead of AOL’s ill-fated merger with Time Warner that was completed in 2001.

Its popularity as a communication tool waned amid the rise of text messaging, Google Chat and social networking sites.

Despite the decline in usage the announcement Friday made the platform a trending topic online. Revealed an outpouring of nostalgia. Some users posted images of the AIM’s famous “running man” logo outfitted with wings and a halo. Others reminisced.

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In his post, Albers noted the strong affinity. Many feel for the messaging platform and its place in the evolution of communication.