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AOL: No plans to bin instant messager

Okay, we did AIM fire at a few staffers ... but we won't say where, or how many

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AOL will continue to support and evolve its instant messaging software AIM, its PR team said today, contradicting a rumour that AOL was about to pull the plug on the service.

Job cuts at AOL USA seem to have fallen hardest on the AIM division. AOL workers told the NYT that 40 of them had received pink slip, which was later confirmed by AOL – although it would not say say how many employees had been cut.

“We are making some strategic but very difficult changes to better align our resources with key areas of growth for us as a company,” a spokeswoman said in a canned statement. “We remain committed to our presence in Silicon Valley and driving innovation in consumer products and mobile.”

The New York Times reported comments from a former AOL staffer who basically told it that the AIM team had been “eviscerated ... and now only consists of support staff". The unnamed source added: “Nearly all of the West Coast tech team has been killed.”

The head of the AOL Mail and AIM team, Brad Garlinghouse, left in November last year.

However, AOL is quelling rumours that it is about to shut down the instant messenger: "We will continue to evolve and develop AIM," AOL confirmed to The Reg.

AOL hasn't yet responded to a question about the number of people sacked from the AIM division, the same question it fobbed off when the NYT asked about it, so we're not holding our breath.

In related AIM news, AIM has resumed its chat interoperability with Gmail after a two-week suspension to protect Gmail from a spam attack. ®

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