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Can White Knights Save Winamp From AOL?

Microsoft is reportedly weighing an acquisition, and the supporters of a Change.org petition are hoping AOL will open source the software.

Can White Knights Save Winamp From AOL?

Before the music streaming services and before iTunes became a household name, there was Winamp, a media player that helped introduce many people to the idea of listening to music on a PC.

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Arriving on computers in 1997, the beloved player is now facing its end. AOL, which acquired Nullsoft and its media player in 1999, announced last week that it plans to shut down Winamp on Dec. 20. But wait!

Microsoft is reportedly in talks with AOL about acquiring the 15-year-old player along with media-streaming service Shoutcast, also developed by Nullsoft. Meanwhile, some fans are taking to Change.org to petition AOL to either keep the player or open source its software.

The petition states:

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.

It can’t be left to die. It must live on.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

The hope is that the petition will show AOL that there’s still a fervent community around Winamp. The petition has collected more than 24,000 signatures, and it hopes to have the backing of 25,000 supporters. But numbers are just that. It’ll ultimately be up to AOL to decide the future of Winamp.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

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