Winamp to live? Microsoft rumoured to buy ancient software from AOL

Microsoft is reported to be in talks with AOL to buy Winamp, the music service that's been around since 1997 but was revealed to have been closed down on Wednesday. The news comes through TechCrunch, which says the deal is not yet finalised and a price is still being worked out between the two companies. Could Winamp live on?

Along with Winamp, Microsoft would also be purchasing Shoutcast from AOL, a streaming service developed by Nullsoft, the creator of Winamp, which was acquired in 1999 by AOL for $80 million.

The internet was in a bit of shock when the closure of Winamp was announced this week. It was truly the end of an era. Winamp was known for its wide-ranging multi-format audio file support, plug-in updates and skins, graphical sound visualisation, playlist support, and media library features. In 2010 it extended to Android devices other than the PC.

It's not clear what type of backing Microsoft would give Winamp. Would it just let the product run on its own, or would it take its technology and features and implement them further into Xbox Music and the like? Word of a Microsoft acquisition is sure to upset original Winamp users who were hoping the software would be made available open source for all to mess with the code.

"Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years," AOL wrote on the Winamp website on Wednesday. The company didn't give any reason for shutting down the application and provided no indication of a potential buyout from Microsoft.

Microsoft and AOL have not commented on the buyout rumours, so we'll approach it with caution as potential acquisitions do sometimes break down.