Yahoo! has announced that on July 17, it will officially shut down its long-running Messenger client and service.
Initially released in 1998 as Yahoo! Pager, the service was rebranded a year later to Yahoo! Messenger, a moniker which it held throughout its remaining lifespan.
One of the key moments in its two decade run was the interoperability agreement reached with Microsoft back in 2005. Thanks to this, those using Y!M could talk to those on Live Messenger and vice-versa. While there were never any details released as far as Yahoo! Messenger's userbase was concerned, a couple of clues were given. The difference in numbers between the Microsoft press release and that from Yahoo! detailing the partnership gives us a rough number from 2005: 35 million users. There are estimates that Yahoo! Messenger alone even surpassed the 100 million mark in 2009.
Of course, the client underwent a number of visual changes, one of the biggest being in 2008 when version 9 was launched and brought support for skins. A preview build specifically created for Windows Vista was available as well, but it got discontinued less than a year later.
The final important change came in 2016 with the launch of the revamped client. This was a move which aimed to bring Messenger more in line with modern messaging offerings like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Alas, it was seemingly not enough.
If you have ever used the service, you can download your chat history via this link until July 17. After that date, you won't be able to recover anything, nor will you be able to sign into any of the clients, desktop, mobile, or web.
After the shutdown of MSN Messenger in 2009, then Windows Live Messenger in 2013 (2014 in China), and AIM in December of last year, Yahoo! Messenger was one of the last remnants of the 90s communications era that still stuck around. Then again, the fact that it's part of the same company as AOL, Oath - owned by Verizon - should've been an indication that the client's days were numbered. At the very least, ICQ is still around.
Have you ever used Yahoo! Messenger? If so, sound off in the comments below!