RIP AOL Instant Messenger: AIM to Shut Down in December

Trailblazing internet messenger is going away after launching 20 years ago

You’ve not got mail, as of December at least, as AIM — AOL’s iconic instant messenger service — is headed to internet heaven.

Oath, the new Verizon banner encompassing AOL and Yahoo, announced on Friday that it’s shutting down the trailblazing messenger on Dec. 15, which marks the 20 year anniversary of its initial launch. For those of us who first flirted and asked girls to middle school dances via AIM, this is a dark day (you can reach me at whiteshadow1990 until December … if I remember correctly).

“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 Oath VP of Communications Michael Albers in a blog post. “We are more excited than ever to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world.”

AIM was a staple of desktop communication in the late ’90s and early ’00s. As a forerunner to the rise of texting, users were able to create cheeky handles and send messages, uh, instantly, to their friends. It ended up becoming a touchstone of pop culture, making appearances in the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan rom-com “You’ve Got Mail,” as well as  “Sex and the City.” The service peaked at more than 60 million users, but has since dwindled to “single digit millions” of users with dozens of other messaging options on the market.

The company is promoting the hashtag #AIMemories for those looking to go down memory lane on Twitter.