AOL Instant Messenger, the instant-chat service known as AIM, is shutting down in mid-December.
In a blog post titled “Our Yellow Running Man is Ready to Retire,” Michael Albers, the vice president of communications product at the AOL parent company Oath, explained why the service was ending 20 years after it launched.
“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” Albers wrote. “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 (@aim) October 6, 2017
AIM launched in 1997 and was one of the first widely used, free instant-chat services. As Albers noted in his blog post, AIM became something of a symbol of the late ’90s and figured prominently in movies like “You’ve Got Mail” and TV shows like “Sex and the City.”
But AIM, and AOL as a whole, fell on hard times as technology advanced and text messaging grew in popularity. By 2012, AOL had cut most of the AIM staff in an effort to reduce costs.
Verizon acquired AOL in May 2015 for $4.4 billion, or $50 a share. Since then, Verizon has acquired Yahoo and merged the two companies into a new division called Oath.