In an ongoing series of layoffs, AOL has fired 40 employees in charge of AOL Instant Messenger's development. Only basic maintenance and customer service staff will remain. AOL says it will continue to support and update the 15-year-old instant messenging service, known as AIM. "We are not killing instant messenger," an AOL spokeswoman told ComputerWorld. But skeptics say the layoffs are the beginning of the end for AIM. If the service that gave life to LOL and BRB fades away, will anybody miss it?
There's some nostalgia, but AIM is too antiquated: "Seeing AIM fade away is a bit sad," says Christina Warren at Mashable. For many people, it was their first real social network. But AIM's biggest problem has always been its "inability to open up and evolve," which allowed competitors like Gtalk, Facebook, and Skype to gobble up AIM's once sizable market share. It will just go stale faster without a dedicated development team. Innovate or die.
"AIM: AOL Instant Messenger isn't dead…yet"
Actually, it's still great at its job: Yes, AIM is "a vestige of an earlier era," says Damon Darlin at The New York Times. "I use it exclusively to quickly send messages to co-workers," and part of its effectiveness is because no one else uses it. "Near-strangers aren't popping up to bug me as happens when I use Google's messenger service." Sure, "'Use AIM. No one else does!' is a pretty counterproductive marketing slogan. But it is true."
"AOL's AIM is so passé it’s useful"
AIM? Come on, AOL has bigger fish to fry: "It's no secret that AOL isn't in a good place," says Rachel King at ZDNet. The "beleaguered" company hasn't gained much from its major media purchases, such as TechCrunch and The Huffington Post, so cuts were inevitable and more are sure to come. So if AIM does fall to the wayside, there likely won't be much time to mourn it because Patch, AOL's underperforming local news platform, is probably on "the chopping block next."
"Report: AOL cuts more than 40 jobs, mostly from AIM unit"