Tag Archives: AOL

AOL Instant Messenger RIP

9 Oct

After 20 years on the market, AOL will discontinue AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) as of December 15, 2017. To that, we  say, AOL Instant Messenger RIP. Rest in Peace.

AOL Instant Messenger RIP. After 20 years, AIM is being shut down on December 15, 2017. There is too much newer technology for it to compete successfully.

Why is AIM being eliminated? One big reason is the growth of chat and other messaging services. As a result, AIM is obsolete. Today, many companies also offer online chat for shoppers.  For example, see this post. Using Live Chat Software to Enhance the Online Experience.


The Hey Day of AIM

In looking back at 1997, keep these factors in mind. The Internet was in its infancy. E-mail was emerging. There was no chat software. People connected with modems, not through broadband. The opportunity for the new service of “instant messaging” was enormous. Enter AIM.

As Josh Constine reports for TechCrunch:

“Initially, the chat experience was built into AOL desktop. AIM launched as a standalone app in 1997. Its iconic Away Messages were the ancestor to modern tweets and status updates. It battled for supremacy with ICQ and messengers from Yahoo and Microsoft MSN.”

And these are Scott Neuman’s observations for NPR:

“For many of us, AIM conjures up memories of dial-up modems, the sound of a ‘handshake’, and the phrase ‘You’ve Got Mail.’ ‘AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,’ says Michael Albers, of  Oath Inc., a subsidiary of Verizon that bought AOL.”

At its peak in 2001, AIM attracted 100 million subscribers. In 2017 terms, that number may seem small. Think Facebook. But in 2001, this figure was huge. And as late as 2006, AIM accounted for a 52 percent market share for instant messaging market in the United States.

Nostalgic? Watch this YouTube video.



AOL Instant Messenger RIP

In sum, Neuman notes:

“Eventually text messaging, Google’s GChat, and Facebook took over. At the same time, AIM never fully figured out the shift to mobile. That led to AOL’s fall from grace, going from being valued at $224 billion in today’s money to $4.4 billion when sold to Verizon in 2015. For context on the business AOL let slip away, WhatsApp sold that same year to Facebook for more than $19 billion.”

How low has AIM fallen? As Rani Molli reports for Recode“As of August 2017, AIM had about 500,000 unique monthly visitors in the U.S., according to data from measurement company comScore. That doesn’t tell us exactly how many users AIM has, but it gives us a good idea of its audience.”



Steve Case: A Comeback from the “Worst Merger Ever”

23 Aug

How about this interesting timeline?

CNN report from January 2000: “In a stunning development, America Online Inc. announced plans to acquire Time Warner Inc. for roughly $182 billion in stock and debt Monday, creating a digital media powerhouse with the potential to reach every American in one form or another. With dominating positions in the music, publishing, news, entertainment, cable and Internet industries, the combined company, called AOL Time Warner, will boast unrivaled assets among other media and online companies.”

CNET report from May 2009: “The separation of AOL from Time Warner will put a final nail in the coffin of one of the emblematic mergers of the dot-com boom and bust. Within a year of the merger (in January 2001), however, it was already apparent that the union of new and old media was not as ‘supercharged’ as its backers had promised. By September 2003, things had gone so poorly with the merger, and specifically with AOL’s dwindling dominance as an online portal, that AOL Time Warner dropped ‘AOL’ from its name, and became just Time Warner. In subsequent years, AOL has continued to struggle. Consumers have dropped their dial-up subscriptions in droves as broadband access became more widely available and they became more comfortable navigating the Internet on their own.”

Businessweek report from August 2013: “A decade ago, the notion that Steve Case would be celebrated by businesspeople of any description might have seemed laughable. At the peak of the Internet bubble, he engineered a merger with Time Warner that, while highly profitable for Case and other AOL insiders, quickly became known as the most disastrous in corporate history, with more than $200 billion in shareholder value destroyed. Business school students still learn about it as a case study in hubris and magical thinking. Yet it’s now clear that Case not only survived a debacle that would have ruined the careers of other executives—and did—but is also thriving again, in a self-made role that in some ways makes him more influential than ever. How Case pulled this off—how he went from corporate punching bag to tech industry role model and Washington wise man—is partly about America’s endless capacity to forgive entrepreneurs. It’s partly a reminder that billionaires write their own rules. But mostly it’s about Case’s refusal to internalize much, if any, fault for what went wrong.”

Click the image to read more from Businessweek.



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