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ICQ, pioneer of instant messaging, is shutting down after nearly 3 decades

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ICQ, the trailblazer in the realm of instant messaging, has announced its impending closure. The platform, which has been a significant part of the digital communication landscape for nearly 28 years, is scheduled to cease operations on June 26.


Launched in November 1996 by Israeli company Mirabilis, ICQ (pronounced ‘I seek you’) was a revolutionary force in the early days of the internet. It introduced the concept of a status icon, a feature that has since become a staple in online communication platforms. This innovative tool allowed users to check the availability of their contacts for chat.



Image: ICQ


ICQ’s success led to its acquisition by AOL in 1998 for a staggering sum of US$407 million. At its zenith in 2001, the platform boasted over 100 million registered users. However, with the advent of new players in the market, ICQ’s popularity began to wane.


In a bid to revitalize the platform, ICQ was sold to Russian firm Digital Sky Technologies, now known as VK. Under VK’s stewardship, ICQ transitioned from a desktop platform to a mobile messaging system, akin to WhatsApp or Telegram. Despite these efforts, VK has decided to discontinue support for ICQ.


As the sun sets on this iconic platform, users are being directed to VK Messenger for casual chats and VK WorkSpace for professional conversations. The official ICQ site has succinctly announced the platform’s demise with the statement, "ICQ will stop working from June 26".


As we bid adieu to ICQ, one can’t help but ponder the transient nature of technology. How do you feel about this development? Does the closure of ICQ evoke nostalgia, or is it just another sign of the relentless march of progress? Share your thoughts below.



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Images: Ilia Burdun | Dreamstime.com, ICQ

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