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Eliav Moshe replaced Gilliam in 2009 and became ICQ's managing director.
While ICQ was displaced by AOL Instant Messenger, Google Talk, and other competitors in the U. and many other countries over the 2000s, it remained the most popular instant messaging network in Russian-speaking countries, and an important part of online culture.
Ownership of ICQ passed from Mirabilis to AOL in 1998, and from AOL to Mail. The ICQ client application and service were initially released in November 1996 and the client was freely available to download.
Users could register an account and would be assigned a number, like a phone number, for others to be able to contact them (users could also provide handles).
In September of that year, Digital Sky Technologies changed its name to Mail. Since the acquisition, has invested in turning ICQ from a desktop client to a mobile messaging system.
As of 2013, around half of ICQ’s users were using its mobile apps, and in 2014, the number of users began growing for the first time since the purchase.The founding company of ICQ, Mirabilis, was established in June 1996 by five Israelis: Yair Goldfinger, Sefi Vigiser, Amnon Amir, Arik Vardi, and Arik's father Yossi Vardi.They recognized that many people were accessing the internet through non-UNIX operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, and those users were unfamiliar with established chat technologies, e.g. The technology Mirabilis developed for ICQ was distributed free of charge.Since 2000 ICQ and AIM users are able to add each other to their contact list without the need for any external clients.As a response to UIN theft or sale of attractive UINs, ICQ started to store email addresses previously associated with a UIN.Also, users can choose and select their own avatars for their profile pages. ICQ users are identified and distinguished from one another by UIN, or User Identification Numbers, distributed in sequential order.