AOL announced today that it is starting to cut off third-party app access to its Instant Messenger service. As first noticed by ArsTechnica, AOL began notifying users of at least one third-party app, Adium, that it would become obsolete starting on March 28th.
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At this point, it’s unclear whether or not all third-party applications will be rendered useless come March 28th, but the message presented to Adium users seemed to strongly imply that:
Hello. Effective 3/28, we will no longer support connections to the AIM network via this method. If you wish to use the free consumer AIM product, we invite you to visit www.aim.com for more information.
ArsTechnica’s report notes that no such message appeared for a user of the Trillian messaging app, while one another was unable to connect her AIM account via Adium altogether. So it’s still not explicitly clear as to what the future holds at this point. What this likely means, though, is that AOL is shutting down the OSCAR chat protocol that is used to handle AIM messages, a move that will affect AIM in Messages on macOS.
The service will, however, continue to be available via AOL’s own chat app that is supported on macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android.
Over recent years, AIM has died down in popularity due to the rise of new messaging solutions from companies like Apple and Google. One former AOL employee speaking to ArsTechnica explained that AIM usage has fallen into the “single digit millions” and that it just isn’t realistic to keep OSCAR up any longer:
“In the years since, the frail network of old backend code was likely never rewritten and as people retired from the company or were forced out they had to let functionality go,” he continued.
In 2012, AOL got rid of most of the team working on AIM, basically halting its development and any chances of future feature additions. Nevertheless, many people who do use the service remain favorable to its simple and easy to use interface.
Are you still an AIM user via one an app such as Adium, Trillian, or Pidgin? Or at all? Let us know down in the comments.
Image via Mashable