Yesterday we reported that the AOL Instant Messenger team was "eviscerated" in a new round of layoffs at the company, as the company tries to focus its assets into key growth areas. Today, AOL is insisting to Computerworld that "we are not killing Instant Messenger," claiming that just because it's laying off some 40 employees (with more cuts on the horizon), doesn't mean it's abandoning the platform. Although AOL promises to "continue to support it and evolve the product," the small size of the remaining team still makes it seem likely that things like updates and support are going to become a lot more scarce.

On the one hand we suppose we should be thankful to AOL for not shuttering one of the most popular chat services on the web, but it's disheartening to know that the company doesn't see AIM — which just regained interoperability with Google Talk after a two-week hiatus — as a priority.