The AOL Instant Messenger, commonly abbreviated to AIM, is one of the first modern instant messaging platforms released, ushering in a new age of communication among users through the Internet. AOL released the first version of the AOL Instant Messager in 1997, and used to have the biggest market share of the instant messaging industry in North America, but later succumbed to more accessible and more full-featured IM clients such as Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger; in June 2011, less than 1% of all instant messaging users are using AIM, although AOL claims that the number is only for those that have the software installed and not active users. AIM is available on a variety of devices and platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, and BlackBerry OS.
The AOL Instant Messenger uses the proprietary OSCAR (Open System Communication in Real-time) instant messaging and the TOC protocols to power its chat, enabling users to communicate in real-time. AIM used to have support for the XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) instant messaging standard, but this was later discontinued, although AIM still offers a limited XMPP support as of their latest release.
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