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The history of instant messaging

Some of the more perceptive of you may have caught the news that Microsoft bought Skype last year, and today, it became clear that Windows Live Messenger will be phased out in favor of Skype. It wasn’t that much of a surprise to me, and it rather seems like a logical choice when thinking about it.  I use Skype as an instant messaging service on a daily basis, and in my opinion, Skype has a far more superior and secure instant messaging system than Live Messenger.

My instant messaging days started over 10 years ago, when I started using something called ICQ (I’m guessing early 2001, without being entirely sure). I later signed up for Yahoo! Messenger to be on more than one instant messaging network, and I also signed up for AOL Instant Messanger (AIM) as well. At some point, I used my Microsoft Passport account (as it was known back then – now known as “Windows Live”) for my Hotmail address to sign up for MSN Messenger (yes, I’m that old). When I started on my current job, I also registered a second MSN Messenger account on a different e-mail address, just to make sure I had a different MSN Messenger ID just for work-related purposes. Later, some time in 2004, I also signed up for Skype, which at that time was still an independent company.

Since then, Skype was bought by eBay, and later by Microsoft.

I still connect to my old instant messaging accounts (ICQ, Yahoo!, AIM and secondary Windows Live Messenger account) using a multi-protocol client called Trillian, just in case someone on those networks still wants to get in touch with me.

I’ve been riding along with several instant messaging for a long time now, and it’s nice to see that my favorite (Skype) is being preferred, even by “competing” services.

What was the first instant messaging service you used? And do you still have or use that account?