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Chat Apps We Never Got to Use

Instant messaging has come a long way. From writing letters to text messaging to composing emails, and now, we have plenty of options for instant messaging apps.

But before all of that, let’s check out some defunct instant messaging apps that became the blueprint to some popular chat apps we use today and unfortunately didn’t make it today.


ICQ is a cross-platform messenger created by Mirabilis in 1996. The name ICQ is derived from the phrase, “I Seek You”. It was one of the first instant messaging platforms that set the blueprint for the IM apps we have today. AOL acquired ICQ in 1998, and later in 2010, it was then acquired by Mail.Ru Group.

It is still alive and kicking as the company launched its new ICQ software, namely ICQ New, which is also based on its messenger.

Yahoo! Messenger

First started as Yahoo! Pager, the service was launched in March 1998 and was one of the most popular messaging apps in the Philippines in the 2000s with interest-specific chatrooms, IMVironments, video and voice chats, and file sharing as some of its top features.

In December 2015, Yahoo! announced a brand new YM for mobile, the Web and in Yahoo Mail on the desktop. The company then cut off support for the legacy app on August 5, 2016. Yahoo! Messenger completely shut down on July 17, 2018.

MSN Messenger/Windows Live Messenger

MSN Messenger was a cross-platform instant messaging client developed by Microsoft. It was initially released on July 22, 1999. It was later rebranded under Windows Live Messenger in 2005. Versions of MSN/Windows Live Messenger were released for Windows, Xbox 360, Mac OS X (then under the name Microsoft Messenger for Mac), BlackBerry OS, iOS, Java ME, S60 on Symbian OS 9.x, Zune HD, Windows Phone, Windows Mobile and Windows CE.

In November 2012, Microsoft announced that Messenger and Skype would merge in Q1 2013. Microsoft then officially retired Windows Live Messenger on October 31, 2014.


Formerly known as BlackBerry Messenger, BBM is a proprietary mobile instant messaging and video telephony app included on BlackBerry devices that were launched on August 1, 2005. It was also the original mobile messaging app before other rivals came into the picture. It was available in BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. Apart from text-based instant messages, BBM also allows users to send pictures, audio recordings, files (up to 16MP), location, stickers, and emojis.

A BBM Consumer Edition was also available for Android and IOS but eventually shut down on May 31, 2019, but its Enterprise edition is still up and running.

Google Talk


Also known as Google Chat, which eventually became Hangouts, was released in August 2005. It was available in Windows, Android, BlackBerry, and Chrome OS. The service was ultimately integrated into Gmail so users could send IMs to other Gmail users. Google+, Google’s social network, was also incorporated into Google Talk. Google added new features like voice and video for users with Google Voice accounts.

In 2006, Google introduced offline messaging to Google Talk, allowing users to send messages to their contacts, even if they are not signed in. The messages will be received when they go online, even if the user who has sent it is offline.

AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)

It was released in May 1997 for Windows and is one of the most widely-used instant messaging services at the time before social networks like MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, and Twitter gained popularity. Although mostly used on desktops, AIM also arrived on mobile via Palm OS, Symbian OS, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile, then eventually on Android and iOS.

Usage has declined around 2011 as people moved to social networks and other messaging services. AIM completely shut down on December 15, 2017.


iChat is Apple’s instant messaging software released in August 2002 for use on its Mac OS X operating system. It featured Apple’s Aqua interface and speech bubble to depict true online chatting experience. Aside from that, it also featured Address Book and Mail app integration and was the first officially supported AIM client that was native to Mac OS X.

With the release of OS X Mountain Lion on July 25, 2012, iChat was replaced with Messages.


Gaim was an all-in-one instant messaging platform that resembles AIM. It lets you use AIM, ICQ, Yahoo!, MSN, IRC, Jabber, Napster, Zephyr, and Gadu-Gadu, all at once. It can be run as a panel applet or a standalone application. It runs on Unix and Windows.

On April 6, 2007, Gaim was named to Pidgin and is still up and running.


MySpaceIM was MySpace’s official messaging service that was launched in 2006. In 2009, MySpace released MySpaceIM for Web to allow users to interact with other users.


Jabber.org was a free, instant-messaging app that started in 1999. It let its users integrate their friend lists on AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, and MSN Messenger all at once. Since June 25, 2013, the Jabber.org website disabled account registration.

And there you go. Have you used any of these instant messaging services before? Share it with us in the comments section below!

Alyza is a Multimedia Producer for YugaTech. You can follow her at @tadboring.

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