Difference Between AIM and MSN

AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and MSN (Microsoft Network) were both prominent instant messaging services in the early 2000s. While both sites allowed users to exchange messages with one another in real time, there were several significant differences between the two.

AIM allowed users to communicate in real time using screen names, or usernames, through a user-friendly interface. MSN offers features identical to AIM, such as real-time messaging, file sharing, and emoticons.

Read this article to find out more about AIM and MSN and how they are different from each other.

What is AIM?

AIM's level of personalization was one of its distinguishing features. Background graphics, profile photographs, and other design elements could be used to personalise users' profile pages. This allows users to express themselves through their AIM profiles in terms of personality and style.

  • AIM also offered a variety of other features, such as the ability to send SMS messages to mobile phones, establish chat groups, and play games with other users. These qualities helped make AIM a popular and engaging platform for communication and social interaction.

  • AIM allowed users to send and receive messages in real time, talk in groups, and even transfer files and photographs. The application's UI was basic and user-friendly, making it simple for users to navigate and utilise.

  • AIM also had capabilities including customising user profiles with photographs and status updates, delivering SMS messages to mobile phones, and interacting with other AOL services like email.

What is MSN?

MSN (Microsoft Network) was a 1995 online service launched by Microsoft that offered a variety of internet services and content to its subscribers. MSN started by offering a dial-up internet connection, email, and a web portal with news, weather, sports, and entertainment content.

  • One of MSN Messenger's distinguishing features was its interaction with other Microsoft services such as Hotmail, Xbox Live, and Windows Live Spaces. This allows users to easily communicate with their friends on various Microsoft platforms.

  • MSN Messenger also had features such as the ability to customise user profiles with photographs and status updates, exchange audio and video chats, and play games with friends

  • Microsoft announced the discontinuation of the MSN brand in 2012, and many of its services were incorporated into other Microsoft products such as Outlook and Skype. MSN Messenger was discontinued in 2013, while the MSN online portal was discontinued in 2014.

Despite its closure, MSN remains a significant part of online history, and many users who grew up using the platform to communicate with friends and consume internet content remember it fondly.

Difference between AIM and MSN

The following table highlights the major differences between AIM and MSN −





America Online (AOL)


Launch Date



User Interface

AIM has a simple and user- friendly interface.

MSN Messenger has a simple and user-friendly interface.

Discontinuation Date



Replacement Service

It doesn't have any replacement services.

Skype as a replacement service

Full Form

AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)

Microsoft Network (MSN)

Integration with other services

AOL email, AOL Instant Messenger Express, AOL Radio, AOL Video, and other AOL services

Hotmail, Xbox Live, Windows Live Spaces, and other Microsoft services


In conclusion, AIM and MSN were two of the most popular instant messaging software’s in the late 1990s and early 2000s. While they shared some characteristics, they also had significant differences in terms of user base and level of customization.

AIM was more popular in the United States, but MSN had a wider global following. AIM allowed for more customization of user profiles, but MSN was more tightly connected with other Microsoft services. However, both platforms have subsequently been terminated as newer messaging software have taken their place.

Updated on: 14-Apr-2023


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