AOL said earlier this week that WinAmp will shut its doors come December 20, but there are reports that Microsoft is discussing with AOL the possible purchase of the media player software and Shoutcast.
AOL acquired Nullsoft, Winamp's founder, in 1999 for $80 million, getting the rights to its software such as Winamp, online radio player Shoutcast, and file-sharing program Gnutella.
The announcement of AOL came with the release of Winamp 5.66, the last version of the music player that might end its 15-year run. Winamp that gained popularity during the peak of MP3 sharing when Napster existed, has been used on desktop and mobile platforms. It now has versions for Windows, Android, OS X, and iOS.
"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.Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years," the note on the download page of Winamp stated.
However, Winamp might live to see 2014, technology blog TechCrunch said, adding that AOL and Microsoft were in discussions about possible acquisition of Winamp and other Nullsoft products by Microsoft. Both AOL and Microsoft have refused to comment on the matter.
"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," TechCrunch reported. "If this is correct, it would represent an interesting, and strange, twist in the story."
It is not clear why Microsoft is interested in acquiring Winamp. The software lost its appeal with the rise of iTunes that came with iPod and other iOS devices. The rollout of Spotify and other streaming services also contributed to its downfall. AOL tried to revive the app by introducing updates such as the ability to import music files from the iTunes Library, but still did not manage to regain its old glory.
TechCrunch also reported that Shoutcast will also be killed and the announcement is expected to happen next week. Microsoft technically has Nokia MixRadio in its portfolio after buying the handset business of the Finnish company. Shoutcast streams radio stations over the Internet and does not require users to sign up or pay for a premium for the service unlike Pandora or Xbox Music. It is also not clear what Microsoft intends to do with Shoutcast.