AOL has announced that it is discontinuing its pioneering Instant 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.
“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.
The program will still function until December 15. After that date, users won’t be able to sign in and all data will be deleted. AOL says people with an aim.com email address will still be able to use it.
Launched in 1997, AOL Instant Messenger was at the forefront of what was 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.