What happened to Winamp – the once beloved MP3 player that everyone had on their PC, decorated with colorful skins and plugins to show off to your friends, remember? The orange lightning bolt represented the MP3 to me back in the late 90s. It was my must-have piece of software back then, but now it’s almost as if the Internet has forgotten about it.
ArsTechnica had a great feature that covers the fall of Winamp.
This year marks Winamp’s 15th birthday, instead of revolutionizing digital music, it has fall into near obscurity. I don’t know what drew me away, but there was something that I didn’t like. I later discovered Foobar, which I stick to til now. Then iTunes came along, which hurt Winamp even more at a time it was starting to struggle.
Winamp had such huge head start and user base, where did it fail? You really have to read this feature by ArsTechnica.
“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 general manager of Winamp, and its first-ever hire, told Ars.
Justin Frankel, Winamp’s primary developer, seems to concur in an interview he gave to BetaNews. (He declined to be interviewed for this article.) “I’m always hoping that they will come around and realize that they’re killing [Winamp] and find a better way, but AOL always seems too bogged down with all of their internal politics to get anything done,” he said.
Winamp lives of course, you can still download it at www.winamp.com. But now, it’s just another option.