ICQ is shutting down after 27 years

ICQ is shutting down after 27 years

ICQ is shutting down after 27 years

After 27 years of operation, ICQ, one of the earliest and enduring online platforms, is finally bidding farewell. The once-prevalent instant messaging service made the announcement on its website last Friday, declaring its imminent closure next month.

“ICQ will cease operations from June 26,” states a notice on ICQ.com. “You can connect with friends via VK Messenger, and communicate with colleagues on VK WorkSpace.”

In 2001, AOL revealed that ICQ had amassed a user base exceeding 100 million. However, the subsequent rise of social media applications such as Facebook on mobile devices significantly eroded the market share of instant messengers. As a result, the usage of instant messaging dwindled as users transitioned to platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

The decline of instant messaging was evident as MSN Messenger shuttered in 2014, followed by AIM in 2017, and Yahoo Messenger in 2018. Yet, ICQ persevered.

AOL relinquished control of the service to VK in 2010 for $187.5 million, where it continued to cater to a loyal user base. VK reported approximately 11 million ICQ users in 2022.

ICQ had a substantial following outside the U.S., which likely prolonged its existence beyond its counterparts. The service utilized ICQ numbers alongside traditional usernames, enhancing its popularity in regions like China. Additionally, Hong Kong residents turned to ICQ in 2021 following concerns over WhatsApp’s privacy policy changes. With VK’s ownership, ICQ also boasted a sizable Russian user base.

Nevertheless, indications surfaced suggesting VK’s intention to retire the platform. ICQ’s mobile applications vanished from both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store around 2022. While accessible via its web-based platform and desktop applications, these apps had not received updates for over a year.

With a remarkable 27-year tenure, ICQ’s closure marks the end of an era in instant messaging. Yet, its official account on X seems to be making the most of its final days—perhaps hinting at future endeavors.
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