Yahoo Messenger next on the instant messenger boneyard next month

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Yahoo owner Oath has become the latest company to put the brakes on a historical artefact that it has acquired.

Yahoo Messenger was one of the first, and retrospectively, worst of the instant messaging apps and now, after 20 years, it has less just a month to live, with Oath announcing that the service will shut down on 17 July.

Yahoo hasn’t really promoted the service in recent years, but between everyone who is clinging on with fingernails to a Yahoo Mail account, as well as that one guy with the desktop client, there are still quite a few people available to chat, even if they’re not aware of the fact.

The company has confirmed that it doesn’t currently have a replacement for Yahoo Messenger, but there is one in the pipeline, called Squirrel, which it is suggesting you may wish to be a beta tester for, redirecting you to the page to register for the current closed beta.

“We know we have many loyal fans who have used Yahoo Messenger since its beginning as one of the first chat apps of its kind,” Oath burbles.

“As the communications landscape continues to change over, we’re focusing on building and introducing new, exciting communications tools that better fit consumer needs.”

The reasons for shutting down now are unclear, but if there is a replacement so close to being ready, it seems odd to have closed Messenger down so quickly and before its successor is out of beta.

Of course, whilst it would be easy to assume its a security glitch that is too costly to repair, it could just as easily be that Yahoo has seen the mess that Google has got into with its seven (seven!) messaging apps and a refusal by users to switch, and thought that getting a captive audience is the way forward.

Of course, it could be as simple as the fact that it was a ghost town compared to Facebook Messenger, Skype, and WhatsApp.

Yahoo Messenger’s ‘legacy app’ was closed down in 2016, but the service continued on the most recent clients until this week.

It joins AOL, which was closed down by Oath in October 2017.

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David Li

David Li writes regular column on Driverdown for some big names, including Apple, Google and Microsoft. His role before joined Driversdown is senior writer of qudong.com, and then Science and Technology Daily. David based in Driversdown Beijing office. Contact David via david@driversdown.com