Sunday, July 14, 2024

ICQ to Cease Operations in June 2024: Farewell to the Pioneer of Instant Messaging Software

According to a report by PCMag, ICQ, the once-popular instant messaging software that debuted in 1996, is set to shut down on June 26, 2024, after nearly 28 years of service. The official ICQ website posted a simple message: “ICQ will cease operations from June 26.” Users are encouraged to migrate to the communication apps under VK, its parent company based in Russia.

The History and Impact of ICQ

ICQ, which stands for “I Seek You,” was originally developed by the Israeli company Mirabilis and was acquired by AOL in 1998 for $407 million. As a pioneering instant messaging software, ICQ gained immense success in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It revolutionized the market with the convenience of real-time communication and became a representative of such software, boasting over 100 million users by 2001.

Competition and Market Evolution

Over time, ICQ was gradually replaced by other instant messaging software and smartphone chat applications. It faced fierce competition from MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and later WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, eventually retreating from the forefront. In 2010, VK (a Russian social media company) acquired ICQ and attempted to revitalize it through the development of mobile versions. Although ICQ regained some attention in the Russian market in 2014, it ultimately failed to restore its former glory.

ICQ’s Technical Legacy

Even as ICQ is set to cease operations, its innovations and impact in the field of instant messaging cannot be overlooked. ICQ laid the foundation for many basic functions and technical standards that later instant messaging software adopted, such as:

  • Online Status Display: Allowing users to see if their friends are online.
  • User Alerts: Enabling users to set specific status messages to notify friends of their availability.
  • Group Chat: Providing the ability for multiple users to chat simultaneously.
  • File Transfer: Allowing users to send files during chats.


The shutdown of ICQ marks the end of an era for many of its former users. It successfully pioneered a new category of software but ultimately couldn’t withstand the tide of time. Farewell to the software that once amazed us with its features. “Oh-oh” indeed.

Source: PCMag