AOL pulls the plug on Instant Messenger division (updated)

By on March 14, 2012, 1:00 PM

Update: An AOL spokesperson has since told Computerworld that the company isn't killing Instant Messenger and they will continue to support and evolve the product.

AOL has completely done away with their AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) staff in the midst of company-wide layoffs that are expected to include more than 100 employees. The cuts are said to be led by chief financial officer Arthur “Artie” Minson who is in charge of Mobile, AOL AIM, Mail and About.me.

The division reportedly brought in close to $50 million per year in revenue for AOL and $25 million after operating expenses. Two employees familiar with the product said AOL plans to only spend $2 to $3 million each year moving forward, netting in a much larger profit in the short term. With the development team ousted, only a small support group remains.

Other employees expected to receive pink slips include those working in the hyperlocal news department known as Patch.com. Smaller layoffs are expected to hit other divisions as well, although they will be more scattered.

As Gizmodo notes, news of the chat client being discontinued isn’t anything we haven’t expected for some time now. But for those of us who grew up online in the days of AOL, AIM was a key component of the user experience and at one time held the largest share of the market in North America.

In this case, AOL was their own worst enemy as the company continually loaded the pioneering chat client with bloatware in an effort to generate more revenue. This, coupled with more compelling options from the competition led many to abandon AIM over the years. AIM now has less than a 1 percent market share, giving way to Windows Live Messenger, Skype and Yahoo! Messenger.

Do any of you still use AIM as your primary chat client?




User Comments: 14

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

I still use it.

I find it has the best voice chat.

Raswan Raswan said:

Who uses a dedicated chat client anymore? That's what I really want to know.

howzz1854 said:

not since maybe the last time in 2005.

howzz1854 said:

what long way it has come. back in the days... whenver you reinstall windows... AIM was always one of the essential softwares you would put on. past relationships used to end on AIM as well.. now a days... you break it up on facebook lol.

Zen Zen, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Who uses a dedicated chat client anymore? That's what I really want to know.
I don't know if this counts, but for years my family has had a couple dedicated channels on a chat client called "Team Speak"! We still use it, I have the client running all the time on a small in home server I got, as so anyone can use it who is registered on the "family channel" at anytime day or night. I just talked to my Uncle a couple days back on it, we all tend to like it!

Guest said:

That's funny, Teamspeak is usually for competitive gaming teams.

Guest said:

Yes. For work and personal.

Recycle said:

For what it's worth, I talk to people on AIM on a daily basis. I also use skype and gtalk as well, it just depends on personal preference really.

Guest said:

wow cant believe it. was one of the first msn i have use back in 97.

Guest said:

I still use aim. I even use it to talk to my Facebook friends. I hope they let me reach out to the people I talk to before its completely gone. This is going to change the way I spend time at the computer.

Guest said:

How AOL is even still alive is the real question.

Guest said:

:(I do not chat

don't need rude interruptions but recently:

WHAT IS GOING ON?

I am getting this message frequently, interspersed with "This computer appears to be offline"

Messaging Agent wants to use your confidential information stored in "f...o" in your keychain.

Do you want to allow access to this item?

I click DENY since I haven't the foggiest idea who is sending it or why and it's a rude interruption.

Despite deny, I then get this:

AOL Instant Messenger password

Please enter your login ID and password for f...o@me.com.

So then I click CANCEL but it keeps coming back

Also sometimes a little box pops up.

Very annoying

Piss off!!!

Who is this Messaging Agent?

What is Instant Messenger?

What is it for?

Do I need it?

How did they find me?

Guest said:

AOL? LOL LMAO.

Guest said:

I use the protocol, not the client...

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