Updated: 01/31/2019 by Computer Hope

IM or instant messengerShort for instant messenger, IM is a software utility that allows users connected to the Internet or a corporate network to send text messages and files between other IM users. Below is a short listing of some of the more popular and widely used instant messenger programs available today.

ICQ IMThe picture is an example graphic of what ICQ looked like, which was one of the first widely used Internet instant messenger programs.

Because the companies supporting and developing IM software are competitors, almost all of the above programs are not compatible with each other. If you're on AIM and you have a friend using MSN, you cannot talk with each other unless you or your friend gets the same instant messenger. Programs such as Trillian and Gaim (now called Pidgin) have been created that allow users to have all instant messengers in the same program. However, these types of programs still operate over different networks.

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