As previously reported, AOL plans to shut down Winamp after serving music lovers for around 16 years. The company didn’t state why the long-time service and app will be discontinued, only reporting that Winamp will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. We can’t even use it through the holidays.
Now there’s a petition to keep Winamp alive by making the client open source. "Winamp is the best media player ever built. If there were other alternatives that would be fine. But there is nothing that can do what Winamp can do. It is the most versatile media player on earth," the petition reads.
"It can't be left to die. It must live on. If AOL allows it to go open source it WILL live on forever and be in the hands of people who love it and use it every day. Please help by asking AOL to keep it alive or allow this software to go open source," the petition adds.
In just a matter of days, the petition has already gathered 6,638 signatures of the 7,500 needed, and the number continues to grow.
The petition may be unnecessary, as there’s talk that Microsoft may actually purchase both Winamp and SHOUTcast, a media streaming service also developed by Nullsoft. Sources claim that AOL was actually planning to announce the closure of SHOUTcast next week, which was created in 1999 and purchased by AOL in the same year.
Unnamed sources told TechCrunch, which is owned by AOL, that the deal with Microsoft has not yet been finalized, as the two media giants are working on a price. However selling both reportedly “makes sense”, as AOL is shuttering and selling off other music assets as part of "bigger strategic shift to focus resources as a web publisher". In addition to TechCrunch, AOL also owns Engadget, Huffington Post and a number of other tech blogs.
On the Microsoft front, a SHOUTcast purchase makes sense, as Nullsoft’s platform acts as a portal to over 50,000 radio stations, and would be an ideal feature in the Xbox Music platform. Winamp, on the other hand, is a different story given that Windows Media Player handles audio file playback. Perhaps merging the two would mean Media Player will receive some cool new skins?
Microsoft and AOL have declined to comment on the acquisition reports, so stay tuned.