It’s curtains after 28 years for veteran messenger ICQ

It was once popular but now, it’s shutting down. The instant messaging service ICQ will be permanently closed on June 26th, 28 years since its launch in 1996.

A simple message on ICQ (short for I Seek You) now says: “ICQ will stop working from June 26th.”

The people behind the messenger, which was acquired by a Russian firm Mail.Ru, later renamed VK, in 2010, also urged existing users to migrate towards VK Messenger and WV Workspace.

Needless to say, older internet users who still remember IRC chatting and the wild internet of the 90s, are now all on a nostalgia trip on social media.

ICQ peaked at nine million users and had 2.5 million daily active users. This doesn’t sound like a lot now but one has to remember that back then most users were on dial-up connections so it was quite a feat to support millions of simultaneous connections.

VK reportedly tried to modernize ICQ, a software program that helped kick off instant messaging on PCs, by developing apps for iOS and Android but gave up after seeing a tepid period of growth.

However, ICQ’s account on X has hinted it might return – even if the market is more than competitive these days.

ICQ was originally developed by Israeli company Mirabilis before AOL bought it in 1998 for $407 million. It now looks like VK has decided to retire ICQ rather than continue spending money on it.

VK is the largest Facebook-like social network in Russia, and VK Messenger has over 10 million downloads on Google Play.