RIP 12-15-17: Goodbye AOL Instant Messenger

Once upon a time, practically everyone who chatted on the internets used… AOL. Even people that didn’t pay for AOL. Because in a brilliant business move, AOL made their messaging platform free. And it brought a lot of people into instant, online communication. And it was way easier (and prettier) than the predecessors. But it was mostly on computers, not mobile devices. And with constant emoji being added, features being needed, and apps required to make it work on devices, it’s time for AIM to finally be no more.

Sunsetting products is never easy. Especially one as legendary as AIM. So why do it? Text messaging, Signal, Kik, WhatsApp, and even Snapchat replaced AIM. That’s an extremely fragmented industry and I don’t think it matches the image of a media company that the post-merger AOL-Yahoo (Oath) wants to be. But it is the end of an era.

Actually, it’s being shuttered because that era ended years and years ago. And someone finally decided to let the product go. And I’d say they did so with plenty of notice, and provided copious amounts of documentation on what users can do to retain their data. End-to-end a graceful product end of line, as AIM deserves. 

If you happen to still use AIM, or want to go back and export some stuff, check out