back to article ICQ chatted up by Russian billionaires

Russian investors have bought ICQ, the venerable instant messenger service, from AOL for $187.5m. The deal was announced today by Digital Sky Technologies, an investment group backed by Yuri Milner, a media baron, and Alisher Usmanov, the controversial Uzbek commodities plutocrat who owns a large stake in Arsenal FC. After …


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  1. Ben Lambert

    Who uses that anyway?

    Oh wait, I know, russian spammers! Judging by all the "friend" requests I get from them..

    wait, that means i'm using it...

    1. Marvin the Martian

      hm.. no

      it just means it's open in some window, probably in the background. I don't "use" spam, but I have a good idea what's in the folder anyhow.

      OK, it means that you still have some vestigial conversations going on on ICQ; I haven't used it since 2000 or so.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I'm not surprised

    The Russians need to keep ICQ up and running to support their botnets.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    RuNEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT

    Wow, what is to say that the Reds have not Cracked IT and can Deliver ..... Perfect Binary Cloud Control with Digital Sky Technologies for CyberSpace Command and Creative Control of Computers and Communications. What more could one ask for, when into Global Great Gaming and New Virtual World Orders for Remote Power and Limitless Energy Supply?

    Certainly with at least an advanced degree in theoretical physics and a specialization in automated control systems, are the two pioneering founders better equipped than most to ponder on the Improbability of the Impossible and therefore its Likelihood.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    currently amputating non-profitable arms

    Isn't that like cutting up a starfish, and you end up with just the little orange blob bit in the center?

  5. Nigel Whitfield.

    ICQ is useful ...

    ... I know that if I see someone put an ICQ number in the box when they register on a forum I run, they're a spammer.

  6. Uk_Gadget
    Thumb Up

    The Best...

    ....IM I have ever used...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      i agree

      until aol got hold of it

  7. Robert Moore

    I'm shocked

    I didn't think ICQ still exited.

  8. Slay

    Could not see this article for all the advertising

    specifically the stupid sony dropdown advert positioned in the middle of the story.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is that still going?

    I'm sure a lot of people will see this and wonder what ICQ is. Others will be surprised to realise that it still exists.

    I used it a lot about nine years ago because it could be used to send free SMS messages. It was possible to reply to the messages from a phone because users were allocated an actual (South African) phone number

    This was what I'd call the golden age of SMS: after it became possible to send messages across networks but before the providers got greedy and started charging each other for delivering messages and extra for international ones. The SMS service soon disappeared after that, presumably because it was no longer economic to provide it free of charge. Also, it suddenly became very expensive to reply.

    I still log into my ICQ account but only because it's one of several IM services that I have set up in Pidgin. I don't think I've used it to send or receive messages for years and have only realised that I'm still logging in recently because I've suddenly started to get requests from random users to allow them to add me to their contact lists. I don't know anyone who still uses ICQ so I assume these are spammers and reject them.

    Yes, the pointlessness of this isn't lost on me. Misplaced nostalgia perhaps.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Nigel Whitfield

    I'm curious to know why people who enter ICQ numbers can be assumed to be spammers. Is this true of all IM addresses or just ICQ?

    I'm guessing the latter and that your grounds are the same as mine. No-one really uses it any more so anyone who does can be safely dismissed as a spammer.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Just ICQ

      It's just ICQ numbers, because experience over the years of running the forum has shown that real users don't tend to enter an ICQ number when they register, whereas spammers often do.

      And now, we have a note on the registration form that says "NB If you enter a website or ICQ no during registration, your account may be deleted as a suspected spammer"

      The scripts that spammers use to automate forum signups, or the stupid people who do it for them, always miss that bit. Since the forum's for a product that's only usable in some countries, we also patched phpBB to require admin approval for people whose IP addresses don't appear to be in EU countries, OZ or NZ.

      That got me a lovely ranting email from someone sulking because he had to be approved, telling me it was like "killing all babies, in case some of them turn out to be criminals."

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best ICQ story:

    When I was in college (1997-ish) ICQ was just starting up, and was fairly popular on campus. I was working in the library computer lab when I saw a guy and girl walking by:

    (guy) "Hey, do you have an ICQ number?"

    (girl, shocked) "Why would I want an icy cucumber?!"

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    MuI7 ..... Seventh Heaven, Global Communications HQ for UKGBNIRobotIQs

    I wonder if Fort Meade and Cyber Security Operations Centres (CSOC), dismiss ICQ so lightly too ....... or do they look at and listen very intently to the chit chatter, driving themselves into a crazy frenzy at times with their own subjective remote covert third party analysis of shared first party thoughts.

    And do you imagine that such Machine Spookery as is employed in such phishing is also extended to hoover up all juicy titbits from blogs and articles registering comments, so that an advanced intelligent opinion can be phormed and globally shared ......... which ideally would be an improvement to Present Thinking and Tinkering delivering with AI, IT and Media, a Better Beta Virtual Reality as the Future, and a Rock Solid MetaDataBase Methodology upon which FutureBuilders can Consolidate Intelligence Gains and Extend the Progressive Dream Meme.

    Which would be a Private Pirate Sector Build to be Supported by Hugely Indebted Publicly Funded Government Instruments, which are Intellectually Bankrupt and Going Nowhere Novel or Pleasant.

    And it is only Logical and an Inescapable Fact that One cannot Expect Anyone with Impaired Sight to have any Great Vision and thus to think One has the Ability to Lead with a Fabulous See is a Delusional's Journey going to Nowhere Special.

  13. Joe K

    Theres a blast from the past.

    Haven't used it in about 10 years.

    Holy shit, i still remember my ICQ number, god knows how.

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