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AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), a chat service first launched in 1997, will shut down on December 15, Oath announced today. Following the acquisition of Yahoo by Verizon, AOL and Yahoo became Oath.

“If you were a 90’s kid, chances are there was a point in time when AIM was a huge part of your life. You likely remember the CD, your first screenname, your carefully curated away messages, and how you organized your buddy lists,” said Oath VP Michael Albers in a blog post. “AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed.”

AIM began as part of the America Online package in the 1990s but became a standalone app in May 1997, long before apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger racked up billions of users. Unless a person spent a lot of time in online forums, AIM was the first introduction to chat rooms and a chat interface.

All data associated with AIM accounts (buddy lists included) will be deleted on December 15. AIM email addresses will still be able to send and receive messages, Oath said in an email to users.


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Oath did not elaborate why it waited this long to shut down AIM.

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