'Uh Oh', VK is pulling the plug on its nostalgic ICQ (I Seek You) instant messaging platform after nearly three decades of keeping people connected

ICQ retires in June 26, 2024
(Image credit: ICQ)

What you need to know

  • VK will officially shut down the beloved ICQ instant messaging after nearly 3 decades on June 26, 2024.
  • The company recommends switching to VK Messenger and VK Workspace.
  • VK also retired mobile versions of the app on Google Play Store and App Store.

Do you still remember your ICQ (I Seek You) user identification number? For context, ICQ is arguably one of the oldest instant messaging platforms developed at Israeli company Mirabilis before AOL acquired it for approximately $407 million in 1996. The platform was once again sold to VK in 2010. At the time, the platform was quite popular in Russia, an opportunity VK saw and wanted to build momentum on.

Things have been fairly quiet on the ICQ front, and now the company is finally pulling the plug on the instant messaging platform after newly three decades. According to a spot by PCMag, ICQ published a new message on its website on Friday:

"ICQ will stop working from June 26." 

However, the company recommends VK Messenger and VK WorkSpace as alternatives to continue keeping touch with friends and colleagues. 

ICQ was quite popular back in the day before AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, or MSN Messenger emerged with a user base of over 100 million. ICQ hasn't provided any details that contributed and led to retirement of the beloved instant messaging app.

My speculation here would be that competition got stiffer, which over time impacted its user base. 

According to a separate report by TechSpot, VK developed mobile versions of the messaging platform with better software, which helped attract more users to the platform in 2014. However, development of the mobile apps seemingly hit a dead-end, leading to the iOS and Android versions being retired from the App Store and Google Play.

ICQ will be remembered and forever loved for its easy-to-use interface, one-on-one or group chats, and its provision that allowed people to communicate across the world for free in real-time across chat and video.

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry at Windows Central. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. You'll also catch him occasionally contributing at iMore about Apple and AI. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.