Rumor: Microsoft in talks to acquire Winamp and Shoutcast from AOL

Earlier this week, a new version, 5.66, of the long running Winamp media player was released by AOL. It is also the last version that the company will release, as it announced that the client won't be updated and will no longer be made available for download by AOL after December 20th.

However, there might be some hope for the 15-year old program with a llama obsession. TechCrunch reports, via unnamed sources, that Microsoft is in talks with AOL that could result in Winamp being acquired by Microsoft, along with AOL's Shoutcast media streaming service. Both companies declined to offer an official comment on the report.

Winamp was first released in 1997 by programmer Justin Frankel, and was one of the first software programs that made it easy to play digital music on a PC. Frankel later co-founded the company Nullsoft (which, ironically, was meant to be a parody of Microsoft) in 1997.

In 1999, Nullsoft was acquired by AOL for $80 million and Frankel went to work for new corporate masters. However, he quickly ran into conflicts with his new employer when he released the peer-to-peer software program Gnutella in 2000. It was a hugely popular application but it was developed and released without AOL's prior knowledge. From then on, Frankel and AOL's relationship was hostile, as the company continued to shut down programs that Frankel released on his own.

In 2004, Frankel finally departed AOL and has continued to release new software products, while AOL kept releasing new versions of Winamp without him. When news of Winamp's shutdown hit the Internet this week, Frankel posted word on his Twitter feed that he really didn't care:

Even if Microsoft does acquire Winamp from AOL, there's no guarantee that the company will continue to support and release new versions of the software. In 2012, Microsoft acquired 900 patents from AOL for $1.1 billion, which included the Netscape patent rights, but not the actual brand name.

Source: TechCrunch | Image via AOL

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66 Comments

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Javik said,
Please don't buy this and turn it into another piece of metro crap

1) Install 5.66 if you don't already have it
2) Ignore any Metro version if MS does port it over

Seriously, why would it matter to you, if Nullsoft/AOL have already ceased Winamp development?

Hmm, not sure what I think about this. The company who's media player (WMP) I wanted to avoid to take over my favorite alternative? As long as much isn't change and it's not stuff with ads, I can probably live with it.

Pleeeease do this Microsoft, and keep Winamp as it has been, community focused!

I love Winamp, absolutely love it.

WinAmp used to be the must-have media player out there. Now it is mostly forgotten. It didn't keep up with the times.

What's missing from it? It plays music and it does so very well. Adding worthless crappy features is what ruined programs like Nero. I really like that it is still an excellent, lightweight music player.

TRC said,
I really like that it is still an excellent, lightweight music player.

Was.

I remember when it was a small download, very light on resource and loaded in a snap. Then they introduced their new skin system so you could have shape and animations and such and the size of the download, the resources it took, everything about it was over the top for what it was.

From that point on, it pretty much killed itself... and then divx came along giving the death blow.

Where it fell short was when iTunes came along that did what it could do plus iTunes had a store you could buy things from. That's my guess at least. WinAmp has always been a great player IMO. I just moved on to using Zune a few years ago.

Been using WinAmp since the beginning, and while I have been disappointed with nothing new being released in a decade, I also realize... there isn't much to really add. It is just totally functional. I've tried other players, but WinAmp is just... enough, without requiring anything.

First stability, i tested one (a year ago) and IT WAS a resource hog.

Then jumped to AIMP3, it lacks of lots of themes but the default one is pretty fine.

I'm surprised at how many people are getting upset over Winamp's shutdown. I haven't had any use for Winamp since the 90's. I tend to view anything produced by AOL as foul anyways.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
The photo of the media player reminds of the Windows XP days for some reason

Vista here to be honest. Missing broken alpha shading in direct2D with Nvidia's first release of WDDM 1.0 drivers through.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
There was a different photo here in the article of the media player before.

Indeed but this one now actually looks worse than I remember on Vista & broken drivers

Hello,

Microsoft has no intrest in Winamp. It has no technology that can be useful in Xbox/Windowa family and it wont replace WMP.

riahc3 said,
Hello,

Microsoft has no intrest in Winamp. It has no technology that can be useful in Xbox/Windowa family and it wont replace WMP.


The ShoutCast directory...

riahc3 said,
Hello,

Microsoft has no intrest in Winamp. It has no technology that can be useful in Xbox/Windowa family and it wont replace WMP.

For me, WMP died a decade ago with the launch of Media Player Classic (lightweight program with more features).

hagjohn said,
It's still ugly as sin.

There are three skins built-in and MANY more to download.

I love the second of the three skins, the Winamp Modern skin (the skin in the article). Been using it since release.

I enjoy shoutcast alot. So i hope if MS does buy it, they won't kill it off and just leave it as is.
I say that because MS is known to buy out products etc and just kill it off so they can have the tech behind it.

Snake89 said,
I enjoy shoutcast alot. So i hope if MS does buy it, they won't kill it off and just leave it as is.
I say that because MS is known to buy out products etc and just kill it off so they can have the tech behind it.

Well they don't need or care about the player but getting Shoutcast for the stations/tech would mean they'll fold it into Xbox Music. So it'd still be there just part of something else, not really gone.

I don't mind if MS brenches it off into xbox music. As long as they don't completely kill it off. The way it is now.

I remember using IE6 back in the day when MS had radio stations build into the web browser itself which i use to enjoy and MS killed that an i still miss it today.

Auzeras said,
When I heard of Winamp's shutdown I went back to check it out to see if it had improved over the years.

I just about died at their homepage. Not surprised AOL is behind it http://www.winamp.com/


I don't think it's too bad, personally.

Could do with a clean-up, though.

Microsoft might be buying Winamp for Shoutcast since Microsoft may want to integrate +50,000 radio stations into Xbox Music. AOL probably won't sell Shoutcast without selling Winamp as Shoutcast and Winamp are Nullsoft. so Microsoft could leave Winamp unsupported or they could open source it. Anyways, Microsoft is probably forced into buying all of Nullsoft since Aol doesn't want it anymore because AOL is all about content these days (Engadget, TechCrunch, Huffpost). Nullsoft was in the division of AOL Music which shut down earlier this year (Spinner.com, AOLMusic.com). AOL wants to get rid of Music products by the end of this year.

Saex_Conroy said,
when was the last time microsoft made something open source?

Quite often actually.. should check their open source directory.

Saex_Conroy said,
when was the last time microsoft made something open source?

TypeScript is open source. That was created in 2012. So is ASP.NET MVC 4. They've also backed and supported Hadoop heavily.

Max Norris said,

Quite often actually.. should check their open source directory.

I think the question could be expanded, when's the last time MS made something from SCRATCH and FREELY open sourced it? I'm having trouble remembering anything..
When's the last time they've taken GPL code, changed it and released it under the GPL? Often.
When's the last time they STOLE, yes, STOLE GPL code, added to it and did NOT release the source code until they were caught out and humiliated all over the internet? Drivers they tried including with the linux kernel.

n_K said,
I think the question could be expanded, when's the last time MS made something from SCRATCH and FREELY open sourced it? I'm having trouble remembering anything..

Seriously, take another look at the directory. Some of them are rather big and nobody put a gun to their head because they were "caught". And please, that Linux thing is a two way street...

Max Norris said,

Seriously, take another look at the directory. Some of them are rather big and nobody put a gun to their head because they were "caught". And please, that Linux thing is a two way street...

No it's not, dell got caught using busybox and not abiding by the GPL license, people proved it and before dell got screwed over, they open sourced it, MS did the same.
If you use GPL or other licensed code, you're agree to abide by the license, if you don't well, then it's just simple isn't it, write your own damn code.

n_K said,
No it's not, dell got caught using busybox and not abiding by the GPL license, people proved it and before dell got screwed over, they open sourced it, MS did the same.

Ok, so that was Dell and not Microsoft, and various Linux platforms have been busted on using proprietary stuff without paying for it.. you know, not abiding by the license and all that and just using it anyway...

You can twist this any way you want, but it still doesn't mean jack with the original "Microsoft doesn't do open source" nonsense, the proof is right in front of your face...or are you going to honestly tell us that dozens and dozens of projects that they have available are all stolen?

n_K said,

I think the question could be expanded, when's the last time MS made something from SCRATCH and FREELY open sourced it? I'm having trouble remembering anything..
When's the last time they've taken GPL code, changed it and released it under the GPL? Often.
When's the last time they STOLE, yes, STOLE GPL code, added to it and did NOT release the source code until they were caught out and humiliated all over the internet? Drivers they tried including with the linux kernel.

MS made a whole OS from scratch in 2009 and released it open source.

Shadowzz said,

MS made a whole OS from scratch in 2009 and released it open source.

'Barrelfish is a new research operating system being built from scratch and released by ETH Zurich in Switzerland, with assistance from Microsoft Research'
Look at the list, only a few are from MS, and they're from MS research which can be considered pretty much seperate.
The OS itself looks like a bit of a baremetal clone.

n_K said,

'Barrelfish is a new research operating system being built from scratch and released by ETH Zurich in Switzerland, with assistance from Microsoft Research'
Look at the list, only a few are from MS, and they're from MS research which can be considered pretty much seperate.
The OS itself looks like a bit of a baremetal clone.

I was talking about Singularity.

n_K said,

Errr no, singularity was never released, it was canned.

Slightly off topic, but Singularity was never canned in the realist sense. It was never intended for commercial use. It was just a research project between two guys really. The work learned from it has now been incorporated into the Midori initiative.

Meh not all that bothered, winamp has been stale for years, though I can't see it getting any better than it's current state if MS took it over. Shoutcast would be destroyed, haha, linux and other OS releases? No.

n_K said,
Meh not all that bothered, winamp has been stale for years, though I can't see it getting any better than it's current state if MS took it over. Shoutcast would be destroyed, haha, linux and other OS releases? No.

Other OS's would get it, just not Linux. The Linux userbase wouldn't use a Microsoft Product anyway, but Android users would.

Agree that it's stale though