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AOL is phasing out third-party AIM access

By Shawn Knight ยท 6 replies
Mar 1, 2017
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  1. Before Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Skype, many people on the Internet communicated via programs like AOL’s Instant Messenger, ICQ, MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.

    Indeed, in the earlier days of the Internet, being able to chat instantly with someone the next town or country over was an incredible feat. Unfortunately for these pioneering communications offerings, none of them were really able to successfully adapt during the mobile revolution.

    As it stands today, many of them have essentially frozen in time. AOL downsized its Instant Messenger division in 2012 and Microsoft closed down MSN Messenger in 2014. Yahoo relaunched its Messenger app in 2015 with a modern flair although it’s unclear how well that endeavor was.

    Now we’re hearing that AOL will soon be cutting off third-party access to AIM starting with Adium, a free instant messaging app that can connect to several different networks.

    A former AOL employee tells Ars Technica that he believes part of the reason for the move has to do with AIM’s low user numbers, estimating that usage has fallen into the single-digit millions. Maintaining the proprietary OSCAR chat protocol that runs AIM has likely become cost-prohibitive, the anonymous source added.

    The source further tells Ars that the frail network of old backend code was likely never rewritten and as people retired from the company or were forced out, they had to let functionality go.

    Update: AOL has provided us with the following statement regarding the matter:

    We are sunsetting legacy AIM clients and an older piece of the log-in infrastructure, requiring third party clients to simply update their code to be compatible with our new log-in infrastructure.

    Mockup via Bob Al-Greene, Mashable

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2017
  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,144   +3,565

    Yes, as the top graphic shows ..... it has been born, aged, and is quickly slipping into obscurity. Now it's just a matter until somebody pulls the plug and bury's the poor old soul .....
  3. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,791   +393

    Single digit millions? holy ****, that many people still use it?
    p51d007 and gusticles41 like this.
  4. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Guru Posts: 390   +455

    It's the grandparents using their old XP desktops with AIM running automatically on startup.
    Trillionsin and p51d007 like this.
  5. Invizibleyez

    Invizibleyez TS Enthusiast Posts: 73   +20

    20 years ago, AOL was fire. However, there are people who were also born then, have no idea what AOL was about, and may even have their own kids now.
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    Yup. That happens to absolutely everything in existence eventually. No exceptions.
  7. JamesSWD

    JamesSWD TS Maniac Posts: 331   +182

    You're right...AOL was fire and the go-to online service back in the 90s-early 2000s. I started AOL when it came on floppies back in the early 90s for Windows 3.1. Met a lot of people, made friends, had weekly gatherings at local bars/clubs, met a couple girlfriends, etc. We all had tons of fun and we all used the local chat rooms when not out together. It was great for several years.

    Then AOL went free somewhere around 2000+...and combined with cheaper & cheaper PCs, all the trash got online, joined AOL and ruined everything.

    A lot of the people I knew back then were young & single, drank, did typical stupid and fun things. Now, they're all in their 40s-50s+, have families, the house with the white picket fence dreams, keeping on track with their retirement plans...or have moved away or died, etc. And AOL has been a hollow shell of its former self for more than a decade, just hanging on like some throwback to a different age.

    How times change.
    Invizibleyez likes this.

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