June 25, 2012, 10:57 AM —
The MP3 player pioneer could have been iTunes, Pandora, or Spotify, if AOL hadn't buried them under bureaucracy.
As well-told by Ars Technica, Winamp lives, in spite of AOL buying them for $80-$100 million back in 1999, during the "sweet spot of insanity" just a year before they bought Time Warner. Initially the user base grew up to 60 million in 2001, but AOL didn't know how to take advantage as digital music exploded, fueled by the relatively good quality music compressed down to manageable size by the MP3 protocol.
AOL bought Spinner at the same time as Winamp, and put the Spinner team in charge. Layer on some extra AOL mismanagement, and their avoidance of a portable music player to push more users toward paying for AOL, and Apple, the iPod, and iTunes had the opening they needed to take over. And the rest, as they say, is history. But Winamp still claims to be the #2 music player behind iTunes.
it's a pleasure to remember the time when Winamp (and each successive version of it in the early days) was a really exciting product.
ventolin on arstechnica.com
But damn you, AOL! You killed what could have been the iTunes of today's world.
MarkMS on arstechnica.com
supposed to be user friendly right? Well let's just say telling my little brother and my mom itunes they just deleted their whole music libraries on their ipods becuase of a "sync" issue after my investigation was not nice
Telekenesis on arstechnica.com
FYI – the Winamp Android player came out in 2011.