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HolidayBuyer's Guide

AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)

NES Classic Edition

Adobe Flash

MS Paint

Nintendo Wii U

iPod Shuffle

iPod Nano

Vertu

New Nintendo 3DS

Sony PlayStation 3

Windows Vista

Windows Phone 8.1

Farewell, AIM. 

AOL Instant Messenger will go dark on Dec. 15. AOL, now a unit of Verizon's Oath, made the announcement Friday. 

AIM was once one of the most dominant instant-messaging platforms on the internet, helped by the massive number of dialup subscribers using AOL internet service. After launching in 1997, it enjoyed its peak in the late '90s and early 2000s, but has since lost most of its popularity to services from Google and others.

Caption by / Photo by AOL/Oath

Released last year, the NES Classic, a smaller replica of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, came preloaded with several classic games, but is no longer available at major retail outlets. 

Though you can still buy them used, you're out of luck unless you want to spend four to five times the original price of $60. Unfortunately, unless Nintendo decides to manufacture more, expect those prices to continue to rise.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Adobe's Flash Player has been with you for years, inside your browser, making it possible for you to play online games, stream music and,  originally, watch YouTube videos. But after a two-decade run, Adobe is killing it off.

Countless nails have been hammered in Flash's coffin. Most notably, in 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs detailed his reasons for banning Flash from the iPhone. 

Announced in July 2017, Flash's final date is Dec. 31, 2020. 

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

The demise of beloved computer programs is always a source of misery for retro tech lovers.

The latest near-victim -- announced in July 2017 -- is the cherished Microsoft Paint, the canvas upon which many artistic visions have been realized over the years. The feature will be discontinued with a Windows 10 Fall Creators update, replaced by Paint 3D, but it will still be available in the Windows Store for free. 

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

In March 2016, a report from Japanese newspaper Nikkei said Nintendo would stop production of the Wii U by the end of the year. But on the next day Nintendo told us all not to worry and that it would continue production.

It turns out Nikkei was closer to the truth than we originally thought because Nintendo confirmed it would stop global production of the Wii U in January 2017. 

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

It was nearly three years ago that Apple announced it would discontinue the iPod Classic, but now its smallest cousin is on the way out too.

The Shuffle was a miniature, square-shaped clip-on music player designed for playing tunes on the go. But in July 2017, Apple quietly discontinued the Shuffle

Caption by / Photo by Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Likewise, Apple's slightly larger miniature MP3 player, the iPod Nano, was also quietly discontinued. The Nano had a touch screen, more storage space and even a few apps. 

Now that everyone carries a smartphone and other wearables there just isn't the need for Apple's smaller music players.

Caption by / Photo by Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Want to blow more than $5,000 on a phone? Luxury phone company Vertu may have just proven selling ridiculously fancy phones isn't the best business model.

Vertu was famous (infamous?) over the past few years for its insanely extravagant Android phones made to tempt only the richest and most open-walleted among you. A 2013 Vertu Constellation went for $5,950 and that's one of the company's lower-priced models.

This year the company collapsed after plans to save it failed. It went out of business in early July 2017, leaving its residual staff of 200 unpaid and unemployed.

Caption by / Photo by Vertu

R.I.P. New Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo announced that production of the New 3DS has ended in Japan. An update on the official Nintendo Japan website indicated in July that white, black and limited edition models of the base New 3DS are no longer being manufactured. Fortunately, the 2DS, New 2DS XL and New 3DS XL pages don't display the same message, but the New 3DS is officially on its way out.

Caption by / Photo by Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The end of Sony's PlayStation 3 console has been a done deal for some time now, with shipments to the US stopping in October 2016, and production of new units for Japan, the last place Sony was still selling new PS3 consoles, already concluded.

That stockpile of the last PlayStation 3 consoles has been sold or warehoused and shipments of that last model, a charcoal black console with a 500GB hard drive, have ceased. You can only find them at third-party retailers or auction sites like eBay.

Caption by / Photo by Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

In April of this year, Microsoft announced the end of its support for Windows Vista

You can certainly continue running Vista if you have it on your machine, but it's not recommended. The lack of support means no new updates, which means your machine will become more and more vulnerable to attack over time. 

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Microsoft said on July 11 that it was ending support for Windows Phone 8.1, one of the more notable updates to its troubled mobile operating system. 

The writing has been on the wall for a while for Windows Phone, which hasn't gotten a meaningful update or any new products in two years. While Microsoft continues to support the successor to 8.1, Windows 10 Mobile, the move marks another sad chapter in the company's desperate struggle to gain relevancy in the smartphone market at a time when iPhones and phones running on Google's Android software dominate the world. 

Caption by / Photo by CNET
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