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Microsoft in talks to help Winamp rise from the dead

The fuss over the planned December 20th shutdown of had barely reached all corners of the internet before it was reported that Microsoft is in talks with AOL to acquire the popular bit of software.

It’s unclear what Microsoft would stand to gain from the deal – and whether the price being negotiated would be worth what it’ll get. AOL originally paid $80-million for Nullsoft, the creators of Winamp, in 1999. Given that Winamp is neither the only game in town, as far as media players go, it’s also a lot less popular than in its heyday.

That said, a strong, loyal community of both users and developers is something Microsoft could use to its advantage as it tries to make a name in the streaming music arena. It recently launched Xbox Music which, as the name implies, works perfectly on its entertainment console. Xbox Music also works in web browser and on smartphones. But imagine integration with a desktop player that’s already used by millions. And it already has the right name – Winamp’s name was chosen because it was a music player for Windows.

Just ask one Spotify what a good bit of desktop software can do for a company’s reputation.


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