ICQ Sold to the Russians

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ICQ Sold to the Russians

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ICQ, the pioneering software that helped make instant messaging a staple of life on the internet, has been sold to the Russians.

Originally developed by Israeli company Mirabilis, ICQ - "I Seek You" - was released to the public in 1996, finally giving people a way to easily and instantly contact their online friends from anywhere in the world. Less than two years later, AOL acquired Mirabilis for more than $400 million, but competing software like AIM and MSN Messenger had already begun to muscle in on the IM territory and in the years that followed, ICQ slowly declined in relevance.

ICQ still draws over 32 million unique visitors each month but more than a quarter of them are from Russia, where it remains the big dog in the IM fight. So it is that, as part of its "turnaround effort," AOL has officially unloaded the service onto Digital Sky Technologies, the largest internet company in the "Russian-speaking and Eastern European market," for $187.5 million: Not exactly chump change but still a substantial loss for AOL.

But AOL's loss is DST's gain, as the saying goes. "ICQ's long-standing brand name and its sizable loyal customer base together represent a very attractive opportunity to further strengthen our position in the region," said DST CEO Yuri Milner.

It's a bit odd to hear ICQ talked about like it's 1998 but the sentimentalist in me is happy to see the old dog getting a bit of the powerhouse treatment again. After my UIN, which I'd had for well over a decade, was hijacked last year, I created a new one and quickly realized that nobody I know uses it anymore. It was a sad day when I bade that protocol farewell, but that sharp, jarring "Uh oh!" will always have a place in my heart.

Source: Business Wire

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mine was hijacked a few years ago...quit pissed it was and the lack of support I got.....

Andy Chalk:
but that sharp, jarring "Uh oh!" will always have a place in my heart.

Not to mention the typewriter noise as you were writing your message. Or how often it got stuck sending them out. The ability to have that chat where everyone sees your input directly was awesome, although a bit laggy.

Actually, everything about it was laggy from what I recall. I used it back in the days of Napster and Dial-up connections.

First floppies die, now ICQ goes Russian. What's next?

I can already imagine how the conspiracy theorist nutjobs will react: "RUSS HAVE TELEPATHY!!!"

I'm pretty sure most conspiracy theorists won't bother to fact-check what instant messaging really is.

ICQ is also rather big in Germany. Most people here use ICQ.

Nah, I got rid of the typing noise the moment it appeared. My messaging sounds are pretty minimal: Incoming messages, files and chat requests, confirmation of sent files and I think that's it.

I've actually been using Miranda for years, but with a custom ICQ sound setup. Won't do without it.

In America, you message friends.
In Soviet Russia, friends message you!

OT: I haven't seen or heard of IMing for years. Forums, image boards, and social networking have somewhat replaced it in my consiousness.

Hopefully it will stay around for a while though.

damn communists

All these tech stories are bringing on a severe nostalgia bomb. Dialup internet... mmmmmm. I remember when it used to take ten minutes to load flash games and you could be dropped thanks to someone using the telephone... at the time though, it was goooood stuff.

400 million in dotcom money in 1998 and now 187 million? isnt that profit really ^^

There's a joke in here somewhere involving adoption, the Russian mob, and Chris Hanson.

I always thought it was hilarious that it seemed AOL bought mirabilis primarily so AIM could establish any sort of presence. Thusly, I wouldn't call the $353.9 difference (with inflation) between buy and sell prices a loss. ICQ was the IM service outside of aol's resource hog client. The fact AOL bought it was the only reason anything else got any sort of presence, as everyone I knew (and everyone they knew, and so on) on that thing jumped ship to the nearest non-aol product simply because of aol's dogshit reputation.

Makes sense - I'm Russian and ICQ is really popular here...

But I hate ICQ.

ICQ is a filth ridden virus delivery system. I installed it back in 2000, and within a week I'd gotten something nasty past my virus scanner. I will never use it, nor AIM, ever again.

I moved out of Russia in early 2000s and missed much of growing internet culture... Especially considering how I had dial-up back then and you had to pay for internet at hourly rates in my town (Dubna) for some reason, back then.

So, uh, good for them, I guess

I don't think any of the people I know in real life use these things nowadays... Sad, probably, 90s and early 2000s was a COOL time as internet goes.

Had a 5 digit UIN with ICQ at one point. But after it got sold to AOL it got loaded up with so much crap and tracking software I ditched it.

So that's what ICQ was "uh oh"-ing about.

I'm from Slovakia and almost everyone uses ICQ here (including me).

"The Russians"?

Got to love good old US way of saying things. If it was Germany, France or whatever it would be "sold in Germany/to Germany".

THE Russians is like something out of an espionage/Cold War thriller.

I was hoping that the fact that ICQ was inveted by Israelis would be noted.

Stabby Joe:
"The Russians"?

Got to love good old US way of saying things. If it was Germany, France or whatever it would be "sold in Germany/to Germany".

THE Russians is like something out of an espionage/Cold War thriller.

its part of the "them-us" ideology that persisted over the cold war... i think

i propose we all make an ICQ and add all the people we know in the Escapist, just because!

I used this all the time when I lived in Texas about 11 years ago, used to use it to coordinate Quake 2 matches. I thought it was the dogs bollocks at the time. I'm glad its still got life somewhere.

well, the cold war's been over for quite while so no worries.

Also, the US people gotmoney for it.

Also, insert "in soviet russia" joke here.

SnowCold:
I was hoping that the fact that ICQ was inveted by Israelis would be noted.

... nah, I was about to say that was ironic but it's not quite.

WOLVERINES!!

ICQ and I had a rough farewell. Spam-bots and other filth had made our relationship untenable. These days I make use of MSN and steams message service.

Kinda logical, methinks. ICQ is really popular here in Russia. At least I can see 4 out 5 school kids using the thing. Never personally liked the thing though... Skype's better for me these days...

scotth266:
All these tech stories are bringing on a severe nostalgia bomb. Dialup internet... mmmmmm. I remember when it used to take ten minutes to load flash games and you could be dropped thanks to someone using the telephone... at the time though, it was goooood stuff.

We've come so far, haven't we? I doubt anyone thought, twenty years ago, that we'd have games with hundreds of thousands of players online at the same time, interacting with each other and whatnot.

Argh MMO rush.

Stabby Joe:
"The Russians"?

Got to love good old US way of saying things. If it was Germany, France or whatever it would be "sold in Germany/to Germany".

THE Russians is like something out of an espionage/Cold War thriller.

Hey, I'd take that as a complement. It's the closest thing to a title in the modern world. No one calls us "The Dutch" or "The Americans". Having "the" at the start of your name carries a certain bearing.

Also, obligatory Russia Joke:
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Heh, I remember ICQ. When I was first introduced to the intranets, it was what everyone used, so I used it sort of out of necessity. It was either that or AOL messenger, but no one seemed to like AOL. Plus, some were fortunate enough to have cable modems early on, so didn't have to deal with AOL. I don't know when Windows Messenger came out, but thank god for that.

Krythe:

Also, obligatory Russia Joke:
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Funny stuff =)
Actually speaking of presidents, I believe the current president Medvedev has an ICQ... maybe got hacked recently? Thus the deal was made =)

Hopeless Bastard:
I always thought it was hilarious that it seemed AOL bought mirabilis primarily so AIM could establish any sort of presence. Thusly, I wouldn't call the $353.9 difference (with inflation) between buy and sell prices a loss. ICQ was the IM service outside of aol's resource hog client. The fact AOL bought it was the only reason anything else got any sort of presence, as everyone I knew (and everyone they knew, and so on) on that thing jumped ship to the nearest non-aol product simply because of aol's dogshit reputation.

I know this is why i stopped using it.

Anything AOL was horrible, i just auto assumed this would rapidly become horrible.

mind you I was a teenager at the time.

I didn't even think ICQ was still around. I still remember fondly my message alert..which oddly enough is on the registers at the convenience store for cigarettes and alcohol now. Uh-Oh!
Wow, that's two pieces of nostalgia in one day. Maybe it might be a good time for the good ol Escapist to operate the Wayback machine and bring back the 80's and 90's for old time's sake. That would be fun.

Russia is a lovely country a bit corrupted, kinda like the US only the US dose not know it. =;_;=

Well, they are welcome to it...I used it for a very small time but for me never clicked

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