Last August Gizmodo wrote the obituary for AIM, it turns out they were only 7 months early. With the majority of my old AIM team let go last Friday, the team is down to a handful of engineers, testers and others to maintain the client. We have seen this story before with the AOL dial up client. When AOL was put in maintenance mode it kept a few key employees around in case something went wrong. So here is my obituary for AIM:
AOL Instant Messenger passed away on Friday March 9th after 16 years of complications related to poor management. As the inventor of many key social features and the inspiration for a few important features in Facebook, AIM was the web’s first social network. AIM will be remembered by the many who worked on it and it leaves behind many patents that AOL may choose to sell or license.
So AIM’s servers are not getting turned off, there are still a few million using the service but I doubt we see too many new features. And while Mashable does not declare AIM dead, Christine Warren does touch on where AIM went wrong. Going back over in my mind we lost our way when we could never convince AOL’s corporate bosses to open up AIM to 3rd party networks until it was too late.
It was a great run for AIM, and all of us who worked on it should be proud of the work we did to change the way we communicate online.