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RIP AIM: AOL Instant Messenger Shuts Down After More Than 20 Years

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America Online Instant Messenger, more commonly known as AIM, is officially dead. After more than 20 years of activity, AIM shut down on Friday, Dec. 15.

In this day and age, there is a slew of messaging applications that keep people connected and offer all sorts of features. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and several others are currently dominating the scene, but things were very different in the past.

RIP, AIM

Back in the 90s, the internet was more of a luxury and there weren't as many messaging apps as there are now. AIM launched back in 1997 and for many years, it was the go-to solution to talk to friends and family online.

Back in October, Oath, the Verizon unit that now owns AOL, announced plans to shutter AIM on Dec. 15 because the service was no longer necessary. AOL noted that people now have other means of communication, and AIM is no longer among the preferred options.

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

The announcement sparked nostalgia, but it also made sense. AIM has been forsaken for years, so its demise was a matter of time. AIM continued to be available after the announcement, but with an expiry date.

AIM Shutting Down: What Happens To AIM Data?

That day has now come and on Friday, Dec. 15, AIM officially shut down for good. Visiting AIM.com now simply redirects users to a support page that offers more information on the shutdown. Users can no longer access or sign into AIM services on any platform.

Those who still have @aim.com email addresses, meanwhile, will still be able to handle emails as usual, but that's it. The AIM buddy lists are gone for good, as the company offered no tools to save or export it. All AIM data is now deleted as of Dec. 15.

Those who managed to manually save their AIM files and images prior to this day will get to keep their memories, but those who didn't do it will have no option to get them now. The same goes for chat logs - if they were not saved before Dec. 15, they're gone for good.

For those who caught the early ages of consumer internet access and used AIM as their main way to chat online, it's the end of an era. RIP, AIM.

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