Verizon Communications subsidiary Oath, which oversees the AOL and Yahoo brands as well as the company’s other digital content interests, announced that it would shutter the Yahoo Messenger service in just over a month. That’s right: Yahoo Messenger just received a July 17 execution date.
In recent years, Verizon Communications has made a couple significant moves in the internet media space. It acquired AOL in June 2015, and in June 2017, it took over Yahoo! Inc’s primary assets. Along with purchase of Yahoo, Verizon created Oath Inc to oversee both of the brands it had just bought.
For the first few months, Oath let AOL and Yahoo operate as they did before, but in October 2017 the company announced that it would close AOL’s long-running AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service. Oath discontinued AIM on December 15, 2017, and now it’s gearing up to do the same with Yahoo’s competing Yahoo Messenger app.
Oath acknowledged that Yahoo Messenger has many loyal fans, but the company wants to move away from antiquated messaging platforms and “focus on building and introducing new, exciting communications tools that better fit consumer needs.”
Yahoo already offers a replacement messaging application called Yahoo Squirrel. The app is still in beta, and it requires an invite to gain access (you can request an invite at squirrel.yahoo.com). It’s unclear when Squirrel will be available to everyone, but Yahoo wants to transition Yahoo Messenger users to Yahoo Squirrel in due time, and with Yahoo Messenger closing soon, we estimate Squirrel should leave closed beta sooner rather than later.
After July 17, the Yahoo Messenger app will cease to function. Oath said that your chat history would remain accessible for six months, but the desktop app would serve no other function during that timeframe. The change will have no effect on your Yahoo ID for other Yahoo services, such as Yahoo Mail.