After a 16-year Run, Winamp to Shut Down Next Month

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After serving music lovers for around 16 years, AOL confirmed on Wednesday that the Winamp website and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013, and the Winamp Media Player will no longer be available for download. Winamp was first released as freeware back on April 21, 1997.

Winamp version 1 arrived on June 7, 1997 adding a spectrum analyzer and color changing volume slider. Winamp 2 then landed in September 1998, and by then, the app had become one of the most downloaded pieces of software for Windows to date. By June 1999, AOL purchased the developers, formally called Nullsoft, for $80 million in stock, and as of June 22, 2000, Winamp reportedly surpassed 25 million registrants.

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The downhill slide seemingly began with Winamp3. The update was released on August 9, 2002, and was a complete rewrite of version 2. But users found that it consumed way too much of the system resources, and was reported to be somewhat unstable. Thus, many users simply reverted back to Winamp 2. To make matters worse, Winamp3 wasn’t backwards compatible with Winamp 2 plugins and skins, thus giving users another reason to revert back to the older, more popular version.

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 Technica last year.

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,” said Justin Frankel, Winamp’s primary developer, in an interview last year.

Ars Technica has an extremely detailed story about the rise and fall of Winamp here, which was posted last year. So long, Winamp, and thanks for the tunes.

Source: Toms Hardware

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