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Author Topic: Winamp about to kick it, Microsoft about to buy it...  (Read 9669 times)
Neon_Knight
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« on: November 24, 2013, 07:21:30 am »

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After 15 years of llama-whipping, AOL shuts down Winamp for good
Former Winamp employees blame AOL mismanagement that began over a decade ago.

Winamp, the storied MP3 player bought by AOL in June 1999 for over $80 million, is set to shut down in exactly one month. According to a post that went live Wednesday at 12:00pm ET on the Winamp website:

Quote
Winamp.com and associated Web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release notes for latest improvements to this last release. Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years.

15 years on, Winamp "still lives"—but mismanagement blunted its llama-whipping.

On Wednesday, Ars confirmed the announcement with Geno Yoham, Winamp’s general director since October 2008. He declined immediate comment but said that he would try to arrange a future interview.

Ars wrote an extensive feature on the rise and fall of Winamp in June 2012, detailing AOL’s mismanagement of the property since its dotcom-boom acquisition. As we reported then, Winamp continued to receive updates and make a tiny amount of money for AOL throughout the last 15 years. AOL even released the first Android version in 2010 and a Mac version in 2011.

While the company has declined to release official figures, former employees who worked on Winamp estimate its current revenue at around $6 million annually. And Winamp still has an estimated user base of millions worldwide, a small fraction of which live in the United States. All of that appears to be water under the bridge now.

“There's no reason that Winamp couldn’t be in the position that iTunes is in today if not for a few layers of mismanagement by AOL that started immediately upon acquisition,” Rob Lord, the first hire and first general manager of Winamp, told Ars in 2012.

Justin Frankel, Winamp's primary developer, seemed to concur in an interview he gave to BetaNews. (He declined to be interviewed by Ars in 2012.) “I'm always hoping that they will come around and realize that they're killing [Winamp] and find a better way, but AOL always seems too bogged down with all of their internal politics to get anything done.”

Ars is currently reaching out to former Winamp employees and developers as this story develops. If that includes you, please get in touch.

UPDATE 2:57pm ET: Doug Serton, an AOL spokesperson, told Ars: "We decline to comment beyond the note posted on the site earlier."

Venture capitalist Josh Felser, who founded Spinner.com, another online music property that was acquired by AOL at the same time as Winamp, told Ars, "Such a bummer. [AOL] had been trying to sell it for months... Spinner was shut down first. It's the end of Music 1.0."

Felser added that he recently seriously considered buying Winamp from AOL, too.

"I spoke with the [corporate development] folks at AOL a couple times. Even reached out to [Winamp creator] Justin [Frankel], who was totally not interested. I think we talked about $5 million with some trailing equity."

http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/11/after-15-years-of-llama-whipping-aol-shuts-down-winamp-for-good/



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Source: Microsoft In Talks To Buy Shoutcast And Winamp From AOL

Looks like the llama may not get off so easily after all. AOL yesterday announced that it was shutting down Winamp, media playing software for Windows and Android devices that it picked up through its $80 million acquisition of Nullsoft in 1999. But today Techcrunch has learned that AOL is talks with Microsoft to sell Winamp, along with Shoutcast, a media streaming service also developed by Nullsoft. We have also learned that AOL has been planning to announce the closure of Shoutcast next week.

AOL has declined to comment for this story, and we are still waiting to hear back from Microsoft with a response. From what we understand, the deal is not yet finalized, with AOL and Microsoft still working out the price. It could also be very wishful thinking from those intent on trying to save both services.

AOL did not give any guidance yesterday on what would happen with Shoutcast.

If this is correct, it would represent an interesting, and strange, twist in the story.

On the AOL side, it’s fairly clear why AOL is closing down Winamp and Shoutcast, and it makes sense why it would want to sell both.

As an owner, AOL has never given much of a strong direction to the products, at a time when other digital music companies have been building up audiences and evolving technologies (although, as we pointed out earlier this week when writing about Rdio layoffs, the digital music business is tough). It has already shuttered and sold off other music assets as part of a bigger strategic shift to focus resources as a web publisher (it owns TechCrunch, Engadget, Huffington Post and a number of other bloggy properties), and as a rich-media advertising network operator across those and third-party sites, with an increasing focus on ad-tech to improve how those ads are delivered and measured.

Yes, music properties could very much fit into that mix, but not without a lot of financial and strategic investment in them.
On the Microsoft side, the Windows giant has had its own setbacks in music (RIP Zune). But it has more recently thrown a lot of eggs into the Xbox Music basket, which works on the Xbox 360, Windows alien Windows RT, Windows Phone 8,iOS and Android devices, offering free, ad-supported streaming, subscriptions, and downloaded music.

Where would Winamp or Shoutcast fit into that mix? While I’m still trying to figure out what Microsoft would do with Winamp, Shoutcast has a platform that acts as a portal to over 50,000 radio stations. This could be one area that Microsoft might want to add to the Xbox Music platform, and which it currently lacks, to complement its Pandora-style personal radio feature.

Update: Microsoft has declined to comment for this story.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/21/source-microsoft-in-talks-to-buy-shoutcast-and-winamp-from-aol/
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2013, 10:55:46 am »

... Let's cry?
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Neon_Knight
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2013, 01:40:32 pm »

I would have preferred the source code of Winamp to be released. Microsoft buying things normally don't output good results. From this, two things can happen:
- The replacement and definitive goodbye of Windows Media Player, seeing that both it and Winamp have the same functionality. Program-wise, that's what happened with Windows Live Messenger and Skype, the latter replacing the former.
- The incorporation of Winamp's key features into Windows Media Player, and the definitive goodbye of Winamp. After all, if there's something Microsoft has shown, is that they hate rivals.
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2013, 02:17:31 pm »

... Let's cry?

...


I've used WinAMP since 1997 and we're about to see the history of 26,000+ skins and 8000+ plugins go away in a matter of weeks.
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Neon_Knight
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2013, 02:31:20 pm »

Someone will save all those skins, plugins and the like. These news were given with a lot of anticipation. Exactly a month. Enough time to do mass download.
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2013, 03:03:02 pm »

From the official forums:
Quote
Lets try to clear up the confussion, because some people are not fully understanding what the banner really means



WINAMP 5.66 WILL KEEP RUNNING ON YOUR PC AS IT DID LAST YEARS (actually, BETTER, and it probably will for at least YEARS more).
NOBODY SAYS YOU SHOULD STOP USING WINAMP ON 20/12/2013!
AND YES, YOU STILL CAN INSTALL DESKTOP WINAMP AFTER THAT DATE IF YOU HAVE THE INSTALLER.


It means that playing music, managing your library, updating tags (now even in mass form directly from the Playlist editor!) or managing your iPod / Android / Mp5 player can still be done like if nothing ever happened.


================================================================================================



So, what remains (and can still be created / fixed):
+ Possible new fixes (in various forms according to DrO)
+ Gracenote database recognition
+ Crash reporter in Winamp 5.66 (in case of emergency)
+ New Plugins and plugins updates (will be uploaded in other sites)
+ Skins (newer and updates if needed)
+ SDK updates (80% chances to stay)
+ Ability to install Winamp in newer machines
+ Pro features (unlocked in final version!) (sorry guys, there´s been a misunderstanding of things..)

What is lost
- Online services (like Now playing, MoodAgent, etc). The good thing about it is that now people can use / create custom services to use with it, like Broser Pro or Reader already does in cPro skins.
- Shoutcast (access, not the ability to use something alike, almost 100% confirmed, but there are alternatives like Icecast)
- Nullsoft TV (Idem, if you have the links you´re good, get some here)
- Winamp.com
- Winamp.com Forums (there is: winampforum.com, not official of course, but it nicely replicates the old one)
- Winamp.com skins (not critical, there´s DeviantArt / 1001skins)
- Winamp.com plugins (later it will be uploaded somewhere)
- Winamp Android app (to be confirmed, but it´s unlikely to stay, probably it will be removed from Google Play. See this thread for more info / precautions)
- Winamp MAC application
- Support for Windows 8 (although community will do its best to help you, take it for granted)
- Winamp Cloud (already dead, never got out of beta)

The good news (yes! there are!)
# People can now create Online services
# Winamp can still be improved by plugins. Tutorials are all over internet and there will still be some devs to ask to in case of emergency.
# There can still be "life" for Winamp after this, if enough Plugin developers join again, A LOT OF IMPROVEMENTS CAN STILL BE DONE. Now more than ever, the power to make Winamp even better is in Community´s hands.
# DrO, the main dev of Winamp 5.66 (among other things..) will keep on working on his plugins, let´s help him in what we can and don´t forget that, as usual he only does it for the love to Winamp, no money was ever gained from this.. so keep that in mind when requesting / asking.
# Last but not least, personal thinking.. if AOL is not interested any more in Winamp, then now more than ever is more likely that someone could buy it and start to do things like it should`ve been done years ago.. or set it free to the community. Maybe this is not an end, maybe it is just changing air...

http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?t=373778

EDIT: Oh, look. I doubt it's going to solve anything, but at least it's a try. Tongue
https://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/aol-keep-winamp-alive-or-let-it-go-open-source
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 03:15:13 pm by Neon_Knight » Logged


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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2013, 03:44:06 pm »

I don't consider stacked new addons and modules on top of a permanently old version as new development, and deviantART doesn't replace the 1998+ skin history either.

Archive Team needs to get their butts on archiving the site to nice fat tar.gz's... because as a once ubiquitous MP3 player that peaked at the height of the Napster controversy and pandora's box it has to be preserved for the cultural impact it had regardless how closed source and AOL owned it may be.

There's already excellent Free alternatives that exist that try to mimic the WinAMP tradition and layout - XMMS, Audacious...    what Winamp has that those don't have is a legacy Win32 (obviously not compatible with Linux players) plugin API for visualizations, dsp and input/output (some excellent ones like the MIDI playback that play lots of exotic formats as well as the ability to save MIDIs from them) and the ability to play protected MP3s.



Besides, WinAMP jumped the shark a long time ago with 3.0, as well as the departure of Justin Frenkel leaving WinAMP with regular updates of just "security fixes"
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 04:54:44 pm by fromhell » Logged

asking when OA3 will be done won't get OA3 done.
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2013, 01:51:10 pm »

https://archive.org/details/Winamp.comPanicgrab20131120
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asking when OA3 will be done won't get OA3 done.
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Neon_Knight
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2014, 09:36:35 am »

Quote
AOL Sells Winamp And Shoutcast For $5-10M To Radionomy, Takes 12% Stake In Belgian Digital Audio Startup

Returning from the brink of death, music services Winamp and Shoutcast are now officially with a new owner: Digital audio business Radionomy has acquired the both media player and radio platform from AOL. We understand from a reliable source that it is a cash and share deal, worth between $5 million and $10 million, with AOL taking a 12% stake of Radionomy in the process.

Recall that AOL paid some $80 million for Nullsoft, owner of Winamp and Shoutcast, in 1999.

AOL’s stake will be a financial, not a strategic, investment, I’ve been told.

We had been hearing different reports of a deal in progress or a while now — resulting in a stay of execution for both Winamp and Shoutcast after AOL originally intended to shut them both down by December 20, 2013.

While one of our early reports noted that Microsoft was in the mix, that turned out not to be the case, but here’s an interesting twist: CEO/Radionomy founder Alexandre Saboundjian’s previous company, a telematics firm called Magic Phone, is now a part of Microsoft.

(He sold the company to Tellme, which Microsoft subsequently acquired.)

As implied by a recent discovery of a domain name transfer to Radionomy’s servers, both Winamp and Shoutcast will continue as going concerns.

If AOL — which has been cutting and selling other music holdings in favor of pressing on with other kinds of online content (it owns TechCrunch among other properties) – increasingly seemed like a bad fit for the two services, then its new parent couldn’t be more different.

Adding Shoutcast to Radionomy’s existing assets will make the company one of the biggest players in the radio streaming business, hosting some 60,000 radio stations, or roughly half the online radio stations on the market today.

Meanwhile, Radionomy intends to offer Winamp’s media player just as it is today — with access to those 60,000 stations, but also playback ability for 60 audio and video formats; 6,000 add-ons like skins and plug-ins; and availability in 16 languages.

In both cases, this will be a volume play for Radionomy. Among its other assets is the TargetSpot audio ad network, and the plan will be to use both Shoutcast and Winamp to increase TargetSpot’s inventory, and as everyone knows advertising is a game of scale.

The intention is to continue to develop both products, Saboundjian tells me.

“We want to rebuild the story for Winamp,” he says. “We think the future can be great because the strategy is not just desktop but mobile and cars and so much more.”

He says it was “really interesting” to see how many people are still using a product that has virtually been left to seed by AOL. Every month there are still some 3 million downloads of the software. “Yes, perhaps there has been no special innovation in the last two years, but it is still a very strong community and still appreciated by those users,” he says.

Brusssels- and New York-based Saboundjian says that the acquisition is just of the products and technology. There had been “very small” teams working on both at AOL, but only on a contract basis.

Radionomy has raised some 7 million euros to date and is planning on going for a new round in the month ahead to continue expanding its business.

http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/14/aol-sells-winamp-and-shoutcast-for-5-10m-to-radionomy-takes-12-stake-in-belgian-digital-audio-company/
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2014, 04:44:31 pm »

Microsoft kill products. What happened to Expression or Truespace? Bought and killed.
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Neon_Knight
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2014, 05:47:21 pm »

It wasn't bought to MS, thankfully.
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