Winamp is shutting down — or so we thought. On Wednesday, the Internet was shocked to hear that AOL was planning to cease and desist with the 16-year-old mp3 software. Though AOL and Winamp.com have had a nice 14-year run together since it's acquisition in 1999, it appears as though AOL is cutting ties with the software on December 20, 2013, at which time Winamp will reportedly disappear. But is Winamp actually shutting down? Perhaps not.
Just as quickly as we began to watch our llama-whipping video clips in memory of our fallen mp3 playing friend, a rumor began buzzing around the Internet that perhaps Winamp would not entirely disappear just yet.
WATCH: Winamp Whips Llama
According to a report by TechCrunch on Thursday, AOL is in talks with Microsoft to sell Winamp, and the media-streaming service, Shoutcast, to the Xbox One maker. Along with this report comes the addition knowledge that Shoutcast would see a shut down announcement in the next week as well.Though no further details were given regarding the possible sell out of Winamp and Shoutcast to Microsoft, if sources are accurate, the two tech companies are currently in deliberations over price. If you've enjoyed the use of either the Winamp software or Shoutcast, then the news that Microsoft is looking to acquire the companies from AOL may seem good.
Why is Microsoft Interested In Winamp? What Will Be The Llama Whipping Software's Fate?
On the part of Microsoft and AOL, if an acceptable price can be reached, it seems the deal may be beneficial for both. Over the years, AOL has steadily moved more in the direction of building a stronghold in the Blog-o-sphere, (it owns TechCrunch, Engadget and Huffington Post) while letting go of more and more of it's streaming music/media related acquisitions. Meanwhile, Microsoft over the last few years appears to be working hard on a way to integrate all of their software and hardware components together in a symphony of home technology. Microsoft's strong suit has always been in software so the acquisition of the Winamp and Shoutcast may be one way to save the two dying breeds. In addition, with Microsoft pitching the Xbox One as an all-in-one entertainment machine, there may be some developments in the works there as well. Let's just hope the acquisition, if and when it happens, doesn't turn into another Zune situation. If that were to be the case, no amount of llama whipping will save Winamp from certain death.
On the other hand, another possibility is that Microsoft isn't looking to come in and rescue Winamp like a night in shining armor at all. In fact, in may have been the news that Shoutcast would also be shutting down that actually has brought Microsoft a courting. Winamp may just be a part of the deal Microsoft will have to absorb to acquire the streaming music service. At this point in time, the Xbox One is lacking it's own personalized radio station/music discovery service like Pandora so perhaps Shoutcast is the true focus of the acquisition.
Regardless of what Microsoft's intentions are with the possible purchase of Winamp, it seems that many around the web who have heard the news aren't too excited about the mp3 software changing hands — even if it might allow Winamp to live on.
In the words of one Techcrunch reader, Xylemon, "I'd rather have Winamp die than be owned by that horrible company."
To which JonaJM added, "Good Winamp might stay alive but bad that Microsoft might turn it into another horrible metro app or who knows what they will do to our Winamp. Keep Winamp as it is!"
Meanwhlle, SmilingKIlla had this to say:
"Winamp has always had the advantage of being a full featured media player with a tiny footprint. If M$ take over it will just incorporate Winamp's features into the already bloated Windows Media Player. WMP is a tub of lard."
After which JamesFranko pointed some of the strengths of Winamp he hopes not to see destroyed if the company changes hands:
"Winamp light uses 4.5 MB of ram on my PC. ITunes uses 480mb. Winamp light does not run background services when not running, iTunes does. I can't imagine Microsoft not screwing up Winamp. Given their track record with other system hungry media applications like windows media player. No doubt there will be a metro version of Winamp. Metro full screen sucks (on desktop at least)."
What are your thoughts on the possible Winamp buy out by Microsoft? Share them in the comments below.
Apparently @Microsoft may save Winamp. I am rooting for you Microsoft! Now don't fuck it up with more Scroogled.
— Ganesh Kumaraswamy (@GaneshToday) November 22, 2013
That's good: The Llama may still live on. That's bad: Through Microsoft. That's good: At least it's not AOL. http://t.co/t30LlSFfrN — Aces (@projektaces) November 22, 2013
Just look at what Microsoft has done to their recent acquisitions - Skype for example. MS Winamp=dead player walking that no one wants.
— Gaurav Kale (@UXGaurav) November 22, 2013
Or Microsoft may adapt Winamp to make it a Metro-style app effectively ruining its open nature. This is the new big greedy evil Microsoft. — Gaurav Kale (@UXGaurav) November 22, 2013