AOL Instant Messenger, one of the pioneers of instant messaging apps, will not be available anymore after December. AIM will be shutting down on December 15th. It will truly be the end of an era with the app closing a chapter of 20 years since its launch back in 1997.
While acknowledging that indeed AIM had acquired a massive loyal user base in the early 2000s, a statement by AOL made it clear that more efforts will be put in place to ensure such innovative products that meet consumer needs are invented moving forward.AIM was a dominant online chat app at the turn of the century. However the entry of other messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc. has made it difficult for AIM to compete in this space.
AOL appears to have given up the fight and there’s no indication from the company whether there will be an immediate replacement or not. There’s no doubt that even though at its peak AIM was a very popular messaging app, today not many people use it anymore.
AIM came at a time when the internet was relatively new. Messaging options online were quite limited at the time and the app offered the perfect getaway for people to connect through the internet. Despite its limitations especially the slow internet, AIM was still able to attract a substantial user base and it will be hard for many of us who used it to see it go.
But everything good comes to an end. Besides, the internet at the moment is so much more advanced compared to 20 years ago.
The AIM app was largely a desktop software. Many people still remember the distinct ringing sound for the incoming messages and to be honest, it will be very hard to fully let go. Analysts have argued that the fall of AIM could easily be attributed to its failure to understand the shift in landscape towards mobile.
At its peak, this was a company that was valued at nearly $224 billion in today’s dollar. However, it failed to build on this great start and it was eventually sold to Verizon for $4.4 billion. Insiders within AIM had reported that the app’s user base had significantly shrunk.
It was becoming increasingly difficult for the company to justify the massive costs of running the app with the dwindling user base and eventually, they had to shut it down. This doesn’t come as a surprise to many although it will be a bittersweet moment for its users.
As we say farewell to this app that revolutionized the way we communicate online, we will all remember with some nostalgic fondness just how important AIM was before Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and all these other apps available today.