After 20 years, Yahoo Messenger is finally shutting down

A photo illustration shows a Yahoo logo on a smartphone in front of a displayed cyber code and keyboard on December 15, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Thomson Reuters

A photo illustration shows a Yahoo logo on smartphone in front of a displayed cyber code and keyboard

  • After a 20-year run, Yahoo Messenger is shutting down.
  • Yahoo didn't give a reason for its cancellation, but it likely had trouble competing with the many messaging apps on the market.
  • Surprisingly, Yahoo Messenger was popular with oil and commodity traders

Yahoo Messenger, the messaging app that many people probably didn't know still existed, is finally shutting down for good.

The app is shutting down on July 17, after a 20-year run. Yahoo, which was acquired by Verizon in 2017, didn't give an explanation for shutting its messenger down, but given the sheer amount of already popular messaging apps on the market, it was probably hard to compete with the existing product.
"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," Yahoo wrote in a press release. "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 Messenger was one of the first instant messaging apps created, but it struggled to keep up with modern apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat. However, the app found a surprising niche: within oil trading companies.

Older versions of Yahoo Messenger shut down in 2016, and oil traders voiced their concern about the app's demise at the time.

"You have no idea how much I'll miss Yahoo Messenger," one oil trader from Singapore told Reuters in 2016. "I built up hundreds of contacts on it over more than a decade. I have Yahoo friends I have never met, but with whom I spent many hours bantering and joking. It also made me a lot of money. Now that it's gone, I could cry."

The app became popular with oil and commodity traders in the late '90s because it was free, easy to use, and was quickly solidified as their main method of communication. Anyone who used Yahoo Messenger can download their chat history here during the next six months.

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