I was hoping to give you a tutorial today on using AOL’s famous chat app, AIM instant messenger, but unfortunately, it would be pointless. AIM chat was officially shut down last month, on December 15, 2017. This affects all AIM products and services, including associated data (sent and received files, chat logs, etc.) that wasn’t backed up somewhere else prior to that date.
If you use AOL Mail, you should know that your email account is still fine and operational. The only difference now is you will no longer see some email options that had to do with AIM, like displaying your screen name and online status on AIM in your emails.
You can find more detailed information on AOL’s help pages. When you try to go to the old AIM homepage, www.aim.com, you will be automatically redirected to the help page about the instant messenger shut down.
Why was AIM chat discontinued?
The first questions that are listed on the AIM messenger help page ask why the chat app was discontinued, and what new product has replaced it. As you can see, the answers given to these questions are not particularly satisfying.
However, a statement from a spokesperson from AOL’s new parent company (which also owns Verizon and Yahoo, among other major brands) offers a better explanation, saying that AIM was a pioneer in its day, “But the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed.”
Knowing that many people had given up AIM chat years ago in favor of newer products like Facebook, WhatsApp, or SnapChat, the decision to shut down the instant messenger didn’t exactly come as a surprise. Still, the program had just celebrated its 20th birthday, so there is still a bit of a nostalgic sting to the loss.
Nor is this a decision without precedent—MSN Messenger was discontinued the year before (it was no longer needed due to Microsoft’s ownership of Skype), and Yahoo Messenger was also shut down (and later reincarnated).
So, instead of a tutorial, this post is a farewell to AIM chat. You can almost hear its iconic sign out notification sound as the door closes one last time.