AOL announced several weeks ago that it washing discontinuing its interest in media player Winamp and streaming provider ShoutCast, both of which were part of the Nullsoft acquisition in 1999. Shutdown fury ensued, inciting a 45,000-signature petition and much anguished complaining. December 20 was set as the day of doom. At the same time, hopeful rumors of an acquisition savior circulated — Microsoft was speculated to be interested.
On Thursday, TechCrunch (another AOL property) reported an unnamed, inside source’s declaration that an acquisition is imminent, and nothing will happen on Friday.
Nostalgia aside, Winamp’s days are probably done even if its support is taken over by another company. (We have our share of notalgia, having used Winamp since v1.0.) The desktop will continue to function in that eventuality, without upgrades or support.
ShoutCast is another issue. On the front end, ShoutCast is a pureplay destination featuring thousands of indie online stations. Behind that is an enabling platform that allows hobbyists, and more serious entrepreneurs, to set up a station. On the back end of the ShoutCast directory are hooks that power a large number of mobile listening apps and entertainment devices. Those participants in the ShoutCast ecosystem have the most to lose in a ShoutCast outage, temporary or permanent.
Information sources are mum, and a lot of people are holding their breath. Stay tuned.