If you’re among the few million people still swearing off iTunes and jamming out to your favorite songs in an MP3 player that is decked out with a wicked futuristic robot skin, I have some pretty bad news for you. As of December 20, Winamp will be no more, as the company that AOL once purchased for $80 million is shutting down for good, and fans and customers will no longer be able to download new versions of the once-popular music player.
According to a message on the Winamp website, anyone who would like to get their hands on the latest version better do it now, because this is truly the end of an era.
Winamp.com and associated Web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release notes for latest improvements to this last release. Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years.
Most remarkable, of course, is the news that Winamp not only still exists, but a lot of people have been using it. In fact, the employees of the sunken ship believe that had AOL not screwed it all up, it would be giving iTunes a run for its money as we speak.
While the company has declined to release official figures, former employees who worked on Winamp estimate its current revenue at around $6 million annually. And Winamp still has an estimated user base of millions worldwide, a small fraction of which live in the United States. All of that appears to be water under the bridge now.
“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 in 2012. (Via Ars Technical)
According to Ars, AOL had no further comment on the situation, but I can only imagine that the guy who just finished his sweet new Hunger Games skin let out a sorrowful, “F*ckin’ bummer, man.”