Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
America Online Businesses Communications

RIP AIM: AOL Instant Messenger Dies in December (usatoday.com) 117

It's the end of an era: as of December 15, AOL's Instant Messenger will no longer exist. From a report: In a statement from Oath, the new entity formed under Verizon combining AOL with the recently-acquired Yahoo, the service will be discontinued. "AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed," said Michael Albers, VP of Communications Product at Oath. AIM was a staple of personal computers since first launching in 1997, serving as a precursor to popular apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. However, AIM couldn't make the seamless transition to mobile, where most users rely on instant messaging services. Users will be able to manually download any images or files on AIM before the service shuts down. However, users won't be able to export or save their Buddy List, the group of contacts available on AIM.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

RIP AIM: AOL Instant Messenger Dies in December

Comments Filter:
  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @12:55PM (#55322375)

    I honestly thought it had died years ago.

  • I'll miss all my buddies.
  • Haven't used in almost a decade. Would've been nice if they'd spun it off instead of killing something still used by millions though. (quoted as single-digit millions by someone from AOL back in February) [arstechnica.com]
  • RIP AIM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WankerWeasel ( 875277 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @01:04PM (#55322433)
    '90s kid me sheds a tear.
  • "However, users won't be able to export or save their Buddy List

    The point of being able to export or save a list of "screen names" for a service that no longer exists would be what exactly anyway? People who had contacts that were actual AOL users probably have them as e-mail contacts anyway in whatever e-mail app they use.

    I mean I guess take a screenshot for posterity, if you feel like waxing nostalgic about all those conversations you had on AIM at some point in the future.

  • by fallen1 ( 230220 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @01:12PM (#55322491) Homepage

    ..I am old. I remember ICQ and all the rest, too. Fuck, now I need some 18 year old scotch to help me forget. :-p

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )

      But make sure it's really 18 year old scotch. I once went home with something I thought was 18 but ... not worth the hassle, trust me, so not worth it.

      • But make sure it's really 18 year old scotch. I once went home with something I thought was 18 but ... not worth the hassle, trust me, so not worth it.

        ROTFLMFAO! Good one!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by JohnFen ( 1641097 )

      I remember ICQ

      I miss ICQ.

      • Oh, ICQ actually still works, it is just that most people have moved away from it. Still remeber my UIN better than my phone number.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        ICQ Still works. I'm logged in right now.

        • Modern-day ICQ is nothing like the original ICQ. That's why their current user base is 10% of what it used to be.

          I miss the old ICQ.

          • modern day icq is total scam. they list hundreds of online chat rooms that when you click them take you to 1 room. every room link goes to 1 chatroom. clicked a few, the rooms had the very same people in it. no wonder its dead.
    • I am old. I remember ICQ and all the rest, too. Fuck, now I need some 18 year old scotch to help me forget.

      At your age, you probably shouldn't be drinking.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    AIM was a staple of personal computers since first launching in 1997

    Well... no. IRC started nearly 10 years before that, so AIM was a late comer. IRC was where all the cool people were. AIM was to IM what AOL was to the internet: a dumbed down non-federated service for the post-eternal-september crowd who didn't know any better, and mostly thought the internet was AOL. The intelligent discussion, and almost everything technical, was happening on IRC. Not to mention that anyone could start their own IRC server.

    Coincidentally, IRC is still going, and AIM is now dead.

    • Ah yes and the eggdrops in our channel would immediately kick-ban any @aol.com users - All Only Lamers. Fun times.

    • AIM was to IM what AOL was to the internet: a dumbed down non-federated service [...] anyone could start their own IRC server.

      But how easily can users on one network of IRC servers talk to users on another network, such as EFnet to Freenode?

    • I was thinking a lot of people were migrating away from IRC to mostly Slack or Discord.
  • ...the market they helped define got filled up by better or more ubiquitous options.

    Personal messaging: Texting or social media. Everybody I know has a phone now. And if you use Facebook/Twitter, you're already connected to a majority of people you know.

    Work messaging: Newer apps like Slack that management settles on for everyone.

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @01:22PM (#55322581)
    About the only people still using AIM are commodities traders. You heard that right. There are thousands of traders right now sending frantically typed emails to their IT department demanding they continue to support AIM. How do I know? I've gotten a few hundred of them. They don't care that the service is shutting down because they don't understand how these chat programs work. They just know that they broker million dollar deals over this free chat system. AOL lost the ability to monetize the system once third parties clients, which didn't display the ads AIM did, came out. I suspect, but have no evidence, some of the trading exchanges eventually started paying AOL to keep the service going since so many of their customers rely on it. There's been talk for years of moving to something else but the chicken and egg syndrome is a hard egg to crack. To switch, so do all of your contacts. That would require the industry and all the companies in it to switch simultaneously. When was the last time you saw any big company do anything swiftly and simultaneously with not one but thousands of other companies?
    • by nbvb ( 32836 )

      That doesn't surprise me in the least... they come from the "get sh!t done quickly" group ...

      As I've aged, I've gotten to the "if it works..." stage with technology. These guys have been using AIM for two decades because the damn thing works, solves their problem and does so without causing any heartburn. We actually use it at work for very similar reasons. Sure, we have Slack and Jabber and Skype and email and all that -- but most of my team clings to AIM because it works ...

      I totally get it... not sure

    • A lot are moving to CME Pivot instead, which has been the front end for a lot of the AIM traffic anyway.
      • Actually our entire infrastructure has moved to ICE Chat/IM. [theice.com] But that made the most sense since all our trades go through ICE. [theice.com]Thus the chicken/egg debate rages on
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Wow, unsecured IM protocol!

  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @01:23PM (#55322597)

    Why not Open Source this and Classic Yahoo? Allow people to start their own OSCAR Services the AIM or YIM Clients are compatible with, but, change the host name to whatever you want?

    Currently, YIM is inoperative on Pidgin, soon AIM will be too. For Pidgin, this really doesn't matter. Some people liked the AIM and YIM Client software, a compatible "gateway" with connections to XMPP or Slack as a backend.

    I get it AOL/Oath doesn't want to maintain the service. Open Source it, and let independent organizations host their own.

  • I've kept active on this service for many years now, through third party clients like Pidgin in Linux. I've never been a supporter of AOL, but use of the AIM service was almost standard for a while there, and I've since used it to converse with a number of friends who have thus far refused to embrace many other options. With the death of AIM, there's a real chance that my communication with some of these stubborn friends will take a step backward to indirect, less immediate interaction such as email. The

    • I've kept active on this service for many years now, through third party clients like Pidgin in Linux. I've never been a supporter of AOL, but use of the AIM service was almost standard for a while there, and I've since used it to converse with a number of friends who have thus far refused to embrace many other options. With the death of AIM, there's a real chance that my communication with some of these stubborn friends will take a step backward to indirect, less immediate interaction such as email. The only consolation of all of this, strangely, is that one of the main persons I've kept in most frequent contact with through AIM just got himself a prison sentence of a duration I'm not yet certain of (possibly multi year), so I've unexpectedly just lost one of my main needs for the service already this last month. So, strangely good timing, but really it is overall unfortunate, especially since they should just hand the service over to the open source crowd and let it grow in unexpected ways or die naturally, rather than just killing off something that not everyone has an acceptable alternative to.

      You (and I) pretty much part of the reason that Oath is driving a stake through AIM's heart. Since you used Pidgin, you weren't contributing to AIM's ad revenue. In essence, you used resources without providing a return.

      • I had a friend back when it was really popular that steadfastly insisted on using the official AIM client, that is, until it woke him up in the middle of the night with ads, he was on Trillian in no time flat after that. Hard to say if it is really OUR fault their client didn't see more usage, they kind of had their chance on that one and blew it themselves. It is hardly anarchist to want to use something that just works, they still could have leveraged us in some other way, they had an installed base wit

  • AIM is essentially the last of the truly free services to go, at least services as widely used as this one was. Now you either pay up in cash, or essentially whore yourself out in the form of mined data.
  • ....when they stopped allowing 3rd party applications (e.g Pidgin) to connect (yes, they actively started doing that) they pushed away the last remaining users.

    I've had Pidgin on/off my 3 accounts over the last 15+ years. Haven't touched AOL's actual software in longer than that. Oh well...FB, G+/Hangouts and IRC FTW.

    (I'd say Skype to...but I can't get into my Skype account since Microsoft linked it to their accounts...)
    • Third-party clients can connect to AIM just fine. My Adium is connected to it.

      There was an issue earlier this year when they disabled a very old insecure auth method and blocked clients that used it, but all the clients had to do was update to the new (like, five year old) method.

  • by AnalogDiehard ( 199128 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @02:58PM (#55323441)

    AIM was a staple of personal computers since first launching in 1997

    And in 1998 corporate IT departments were busy trying to eradicate AOL from office computers because the AOL installation process replaced many Windows drivers with their own AOL-eccentric drivers. To IT departments, AOL was more like malware in that it took over the computer, thus AOL was banned from most workplaces.

    When Time-Warner and AOL merged back in 2000, one of the conditions forced on the merger by the FTC was that AOL had to make AIM compatible with other IM systems. Remember at the time of the merger, the majority of internet users (esp AOL) were still on dial up and TW cable was one of the few providers with an intact network poised to bring high speed internet to the masses. FTC officials feared that the merger of the world's largest internet company and the world's largest cable provider would put too much power in the hands of a single company. TW/AOL never did make a good faith effort to open AIM to IM rivals which was one reason they never made the transition to mobile - they resisted the urge to let AOL members to breach the "walled garden" of AOL, because advertising revenue inside that garden was their dominant monetizing strategy.

    Another condition that the FTC imposed was that TW had to open their network to competitors like EarthLink before AOL could be made available on their cable pipelines. TW/AOL never made that compromise, so AOL was stuck in dial-up.

    I was never fond of AOL because of their over-aggressive marketing, but I was never short on drink coasters from their CD-ROMs. They always arrived free in the mail and you could readily find them at the post office.

  • The only thing that's going to be left of AOL is a huge pile of CDs in a landfill somewhere just like the Atari E.T.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anyone with an @aim address can continue using that email address: https://help.aol.com/articles/... [aol.com]

  • I just signed up for an account on AIM last night. I need a messenger program on the PC to chat with my woman in private. Microsoft has messed Skype up so badly it is now practically unusable.

    Oh well, any recommendations? Something off the beaten trail but can do chat and send photographs? Maybe a few emojis tossed in as well.

    • ICQ generally is good, as is any XMPP server though your milage may vary. Both can be accessed via Pidgin, and XMPP is an open source protocol so you can find clients for it for pretty much any system that isn't hipster-levels of obscure...
  • So in December can we rename Pidgin back to GAIM?
  • I started using AIM in 1998, around the time I graduated from high school.

    I did a study abroad while in college. It was the most cost effective way to have a semi real time chat with friends/family back here in the States.

  • Goodbye (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plazman30 ( 531348 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @05:43PM (#55324593) Homepage
    When it shuts down, everyone better hear a door closing noise if they're logged in.
  • I don't know how they are connected.
    Could log into AIM with my e-mail but what I want to do is find my ICQ UIN and see if I can find an old friend there.

Your own mileage may vary.

Working...