AIM, everyone’s once favorite chat program appears to be on the chopping block. AOL employee said the group was “eviscerated and now only consists of support staff.”
At one time AOL’s AIM was, next to email, probably the way most average folks communicated over the Internet. It wasn’t the first of it’s kind. ICQ holds that title as it was certainly around before AIM, and was eventually bought by AOL. But AIM took off like a storm once AOL released it as a stand alone desktop application. Prior to that AIM was baked into America Online and part of their “Buddy List”. Adoption was wide-spread for AIM and at one point it had the largest share of the instant messaging market in North America (with 52% of the total US market reported as of 2006).
But… giants come and go in this industry. By late 2011 AIM”s market share had collapsed to 0.73%. It had been replaced first by Microsoft Instant Messenger (MSIM) and texting, and then eventually slaughtered by GTalk and Facebook chat. The once shiny new way of communicating was destroyed by shinier new ways of communicating. As even newer technology emerges like Twitter, and Google+ Hangouts the writing had to be on the wall for AIM developers. According to a NYT article it appears AOL it killing off development and hoping to just milk the remaining profit from it. Without developers AIM won’t stand a chance against the newer contenders… we’re watching a once Internet app megastar walk it’s last steps. On a positive note, I can finally remove the AIM protocol from Digsby.