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AOL is killing off its instant messenging program

Photo: AOL

Verizon-owned AOL announced Friday it is discontinuing AIM, the pioneering chat program, effective Dec. 15. "AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed.," AOL said in a Tumblr post.

The bottom line: Yahoo and Microsoft have already discontinued their first-generation chat programs, so it's hardly a big surprise. That said, it also highlights a missed opportunity. Chat hasn't gone away; it's just that these programs proved unable to fully keep up with the times.