“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,” the company wrote. “As the communications landscape continues to change over, we’re focusing on building and introducing new, exciting communications tools that better fit consumer needs.”
Yahoo first introduced the chat service in 1998, a year after the now-defunct AOL Instant Messenger (otherwise known as AIM) made its debut. The company originally called the service Pager, but in 1999 rebranded it to Messenger.
Under former CEO Marissa Mayer, Yahoo in 2015 launched a new version of Messenger with features like bulk photo sharing, easy access to GIFs, and a Snapchat-esque remote delete function. But trying to compete for users in a crowded market dominated by modern apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Viber, Snapchat, Line, and Telegram proved difficult. The revamped version of Messenger never really caught on with the masses.
Now, Messenger will only continue working normally until July 17. After that date, you will no longer be able to access your chats and the service won’t work. Your Yahoo ID will continue to work for other Yahoo properties like Mail and Fantasy.
You have six months to download your Messenger chat history, if you want it. To do that, head over to Yahoo’s downloader request site, sign in, select a verification method, enter the code sent to you, click Download, and enter an email where you want the file sent.
In its announcement, Yahoo said it doesn’t have an immediate replacement product for Messenger, but is working on a group messaging app called Squirrel, which is currently in beta and only available to those with an invitation. If you’re interested in trying out Squirrel, you can head here to request an invite.
We will miss the beautiful smile of Yahoo Messenger! We hope a new Instant Messenger on the pipe line.