Bad news, all you AOL Instant Messenger fans. Oath, the Verizon company which owns AOL, announced that it will be shutting down the iconic messaging service on Dec. 15.

AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM, began as a built-in chat application for the AOL desktop client, but then broke free as a separate application in 1997. The program helped popularize emojis and text-speak and in some ways influenced how we communicate through technology now.

“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, vice president of Communications Products at Oath.

AOL laid off many of the people who worked on AIM in 2012 but the program held on for five more years.

Oath said there is not a replacement messaging application in the pipeline currently, but there is no shortage of messaging apps on the market for tech users to choose from, such as WhatsApp, Skype and Google Hangouts, to name a few. And for the few people still actually using the service, AOL has put out a guideline to help users transition away from the service.

Article By Caitlin Fairchild

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