Ballmer might buy WinAmp

The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn that Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer is to write a cheque for the iconic, but soon to be shuttered WinAmp.

Yesterday we revealed how WinAmp was about to go the way of the Dodo after AOL announced it could not be bothered running it any more.

Now, according to Techcrunch  AOL is talks with Microsoft to sell WinAmp, along with Shoutcast, a media streaming service also developed by Nullsoft. It had not been known that Shoutcast was about to go the way of WinAmp.

The deal is not yet finalised and both sides have yet to work out a price. The rumour might also have been started by those who want to save both services.

As far as rumours go, only the AOL side of it makes any sense. AOL wants to close WinAmp and Shoutcast and would love to sell them to make a bit of dosh out of it. The company is more interested in being a web publisher than a music man. After all there is shedloads of money in web-publishing and AOL is legendary for its fantastic business ideas.

Vole has not done well on the music side. There was the Zune, which was brilliant, and its own Windows Media Player which was nearly as useful. It chucked a lot of cash at Xbox Music basket, which works on the Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8,iOS and Android devices, offering free, ad-supported streaming, subscriptions, and downloaded music.

So we are not sure what good WinAmp would do. Shoutcast has a platform that acts as a portal to over 50,000 radio stations which might find a use in the Xbox Music platform but WinAmp would be a little surplus to requirements.

There is also the small matter that many people installed WinAmp because it was not iTunes or Microsoft.