AOL to close down AIM Instant Messager
© Getty Images

AOL is shutting down its Instant Messenger service after nearly 20 years, it announced on Friday. 

"All good things come to an end. On Dec 15, we'll bid farewell to AIM. Thank you to all our users!" the service said on Twitter, along with an animation of its signature "running man" mascot.


"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, the vice president of communications of the service's parent company in a statement on the AOL website. 

Albers said that for people who grew up in the 1990s, "there was a point in time when AOL Instant Messenger was a huge part of your life."

AOL effectively killed the service in 2012 when it fired its development team, keeping any new software from being developed for the outdated program. AIM was launched in 1997 for the Microsoft Windows operating system.  

Competition from other instant messenger services and the growth of smartphone text messaging eventually crowded out AIM, which pioneered online chatting during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Other messenger platforms have also closed in recent years, including Yahoo Messenger and Microsoft's MSN Messenger.