AOL Instant Messenger To Shuffle Off This Mortal Coil On Dec. 15

Like Marcel Proust nipping on a tea-soaked petite madeleine and finding himself awash in the memories of his youth, some of us of a certain age may be immediately transported to 1999 by the distinctive “Boo-da-loop… Ba-loop” call and response of AOL Instant Messenger. While you may have moved on from your early love affair with AIM, moving on to dalliances with texting, Facebook, WhatsApp, and so, so many others, AIM remained, patiently hoping you’d come back. Yet all the nostalgia in the world couldn’t save AIM, and so it will soon bid its final fare thee well..

AOL — pardon me, Oath — announced today that the AIM yellow running man is ready to retire, and thus, AIM will be discontinued effective Dec. 15, 2017.

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

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America Online first introduced the service as part of its AOL desktop, and then started offering it in 1997 as a stand-alone Windows program.

The writing has been on the wall for AIM for years, first, when SMS texting became popular, and then as companies like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and others crowded into the messaging field. In 2012, AOL gutted its AIM staff, signaling inevitable doom for the once beloved service. That doom, it seems, has now come.

Here’s to all those carefully crafted away messages — “You’re so vain, you probably think this away message is about you” and perfectly organized buddy lists. You served us well.

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