Winamp not yet gone as acquisition becomes likely

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When AOL announced the closure of the Winamp website, media player and the Shoutcast Internet Radio directory back in November 2013, I asked why the company did not make any efforts to sell the brand instead.

Even thought the media player may not be at the height of its game anymore, it is still an established highly popular player and the Winamp name is a recognized brand that goes along with it. And the Shoutcast directory is used by many, both on the web and in third party applications, as a directory for Internet Radio stations.

According to the announcement, AOL planned to shut down all Winamp related services, including the Winamp website and Shoutcast website, as of today, December 20th.

TechCrunch, which is owned by AOL, reports that the shutdown may not happen after all, as AOL appears to be in talks with another -- unnamed company / buyer -- interested in acquiring the brand and all assets that go along with it.

Microsoft was previously named as one potential buyer for the service and its assets, and while Techcrunch could not confirm that it is indeed Microsoft that is in talks to acquire Winamp and Shoutcast, the site noted that its source seemed confident that an acquisition would happen after all.

The source told Techcrunch that the sites would be kept online while talks about the acquisition are undergoing. The most likely explanation here is that the potential buyer wants the websites and services to remain online to avoid any damages caused by a shut down. AOL would certainly be willing to comply with that demand, as it would likely strengthen its position in the negotiation.

We already noted that the shut down has no immediate effect on users of Winamp, as the client version will function just like before. While some features that rely on remote data access may stop working, the majority of features will continue to work just fine.

Downloads remain available on third party download portals, and that is not only true for the application itself, but also for many of the plugins and skins that were created by Winamp fans over the years.

As far as Shoutcast is concerned, a shutdown would not have an immediate effect as well. Other radio directories, Icecast for example, would be used instead by users who rely on directories to find new radio streams.

What if Microsoft is the company that tries to acquire Winamp? How would a media player like Winamp fit into the company portfolio? It is likely that Microsoft is not -- that much -- interested in the music player itself, as Windows Media Player can playback music just fine as well. What Microsoft may be after is the brand, and the Shoutcast directory.

The brand itself has tremendous value as Winamp is still recognized by many as a music player with a long standing history.

What's your take on this? Do you think that Microsoft will make the acquisition, or that another company is after the player and the brand instead. Also, how much do you think all of that is worth, considering that AOL was ready to dump it for nothing.

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Responses to Winamp not yet gone as acquisition becomes likely

  1. Andrew December 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    HOPE! My only fear is the whole buy and shutdown that I have seen happen a lot with acquisitions. I hope if they don't want the player, they at least open the source or spin off the company to be independent. Being a user for 16 years, I don't want to see it die.

  2. Oxa December 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    Perhaps Yahoo is the interested buyer. They seem to be snapping up everything around.

  3. Gregg DesElms December 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    I've never liked WinAmp all that much, but that's certainly not because it's not a good product: it is, indeed. My reasons have more to do with my personal choice of other products; but I was still kinda' upset when I read that WinAmp was going away...

    ...and I remember thinking at the time that someone who agreed with me that a well-known brand like that should be preserved would probably offer to buy it; that one strategy that many well-known product authors use, in fact, to get offered money to hand-over their work and retire is to publicly say that they just can't do it anymore, and that the product is ending; and that it seemed WinAmp's author was doing exactly that, and so we should all look forward to the anouncement of a new owner soon.

    I should have written all that back when WinAmp's demise was first announced so that I would, today, seem downright prophetic. [grin]

    __________________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
    Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.

    • JPS December 23, 2013 at 12:25 am #

      Hate to have to tell you,Winamp is not a good product -- at least as far as it being a good video player.I know,Winamp was the first media player I ever downloaded and I used it for several years.Slowly,I began to see that Winamp's video player wouldn't play a lot of videos -- some wouldn't have any sound,some wouldn't have any video,and some didn't have either{the only way you could tell a video was playing was the time line moving along}! I finally got tired of this,and started looking at other media players with better video players.I tried the VLC media player and found it plays almost every video out there -- it's now the main media player I use.Unfortunately for Winamp,its developers chose to put their priorities in other areas{music,plug-ins and other things}.But in the world of media players,that's a fatal mistake.That's because the CORE component of any good media player is the VIDEO PLAYER.Without a video player,a media player doesn't even exist.So you first have to start with a good,well-developed{and constantly updated}video player,then build around it those 'other things' that media players have.But if you get these priorities reversed{as Winamp did{or chose to do},then it's only a matter of time before it's no longer going to be around.Many people don't even know that when Winamp first came out some 15 years ago,even then there were a few media players with better video players.Over the years{especially in the past 5-7 years},almost every video player out there has surpassed Winamp's video player.If you don't believe me,then just take a look at Winamp's competition -- what's the one thing they ALL have in common? A good,well-developed{and constantly updated}video player.That's because they know that without this,it's just a matter of time till they are no longer going to be around.This is what Winamp didn't do and as a result,this is what has happened to them.Not that they couldn't see this coming{they saw what the competition was doing},but they chose to put their priorities elsewhere{instead of concentrating on a video player}.This is why Winamp finds itself where it is today -- and it will happen to ANY media player that has done{or will do} this same thing.I would actually like to see Wimamp stay around,but if another company does buy it out,the one area that improvements will HAVE to be made is in its video player.A media player cannot survive without a good video player.So any company that does buy-out Winamp,the video player will have to be their first priority -- after that,then those 'other things' can be added{built AROUND the video player}.But you first have to start with a good video player.

      • Andrew December 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

        Actually the core component of winamp is its plug-ins, winamp's core and heritage is a music player, they added video functionality in later. While I agree that video is important on media players, video was never something that winamp did well. I am not sure why you are comparing winamp to other video players 15 years ago when at that time winamp didn't play videos.

        Winamp is a phenomenal music playing program, so when you state that it's not a good product you are obviously speaking out of personal opinion, as I am. May I recommend doing what I do and just use it as a music player and keep videos on something else? (I use MPC)

        Also, Paragraphs/spacing help.

      • bvn December 25, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

        Its like you don't even know what winamp was/is! So frustrating to read you say winamp is a bad product for something it never actively engaged. ITS A MUSIC PLAYER FIRST AND FOREMOST. local and streaming music is what it does best; especially 15 years ago it certainly did it the best.

        As Andrew says, the best part of WA are the plugins/components. I have never once identified winamp as a video player, just as I never really recognize VLC as a music player.

      • WinAmpIt December 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

        Hi. You must be all new and green right?
        No wonder, VLC is intended as a VIDEO player.
        WINdowsAMPlifier is an AUDIO player and a jukebox, first and foremost, has always been and it is still excels in it. It can handle video files too and those are the added capabilties that it has acquired during the years. Amateur.

  4. imu December 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    If they decided to shut the player down what was that fuss all about?Why they been spending money for announcements all over internet about closing down? One word really "Marketing" and as you can see it worked well.

    • Andrew December 20, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      I don't believe they weren't spending money to market its shutdown, it was just websites reporting on it because it has such a strong following from fans and winamp has a long history. The only real notification that it was shutting down was the notice on the download page of winamp.com. It wasn't even posted on their front page.

  5. fokka December 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    i don't want to see winamp die, since it has been my music-player of choice for ages on windows.

    but on the other hand, my usage is very limited. just playback, track list, eq and that's about it, so i don't really care for new versions or features as long as the old ones work. i'm not even concerned about security, since i don't access any online sources with it.

    never the less i'd like to be continued, if mainly for nostalgic reasons.

    the most interesting move would be to open source it and see what the fans can do with the player, but since i don't really need more from a music player than what winamp already offers since such a long time, that would also just cater to my curiosity.

  6. Gonzo December 21, 2013 at 12:04 am #

    Winamp = nostalgia. It was the first music player I used on Windows. Though, I haven't used it in nearly 10 years.

    The "buyout" sounds like a PR stunt especially considering the source. This is the most press AOL has received in years.

  7. Straspey December 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Over at BetaNews. Alan Buckingham has posted an article claiming that Winamp will be taken over by Spotify, and will be resurrected as "Spotiamp"

    "Winamp is dead, Spotify tries to resuscitate it"

    http://betanews.com/2013/12/20/winamp-is-dead-spotify-tries-to-resuscitate-it/

    Apparently one will be required to have a premium Spotify account in order to download their program.

    However - FileHippo is still offering downloads of the current (last?) version of Wimamp Full, along with many pages of earlier versions.

    • Martin Brinkmann December 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

      As far as I know, that is a third party solution and not officially sanctioned by Winamp or AOL. So, it is a skin for Spotify more or less, if I'm not mistaken.

  8. b003 December 25, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    Long as they don't bundle malware softs like Conduit, I'm all good with it.

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