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Old 20th December 2013, 03:00   #107
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 17
Saving Winamp and Shoutcast may be prohibitively complex

Excerpted from a longer article:

Radio Survivor has learned that, in fact, AOL fielded a flurry of last-minute offers to purchase these assets after the shut-down announcement. However, serious buyers found out that what’s up for sale is hardly a turn-key operation.
We’ve learned that what AOL is willing to sell is not a ready-to-go Winamp division, but just the trademarks and code for Winamp and Shoutcast. The catch is that part of what makes Winamp valuable for many buyers is the ecosystem of third-party plug-ins and skins, the directory of 50,000 stations, and the rich and active user community. Those assets and the databases are not for sale. That’s because the databases are built on a proprietary AOL content management system that the company is not interested in selling or licensing.

AOL is also unwilling to hand over any servers. This caveat certainly would be no problem for a tech giant like Microsoft, but could be another hurdle for a smaller, scrappier group hoping to save the day.

Finally, there is reason to question how valuable it is to have the Winamp and Shoutcast source code, and if it is even feasible to release it as open source. We have learned that there is enough proprietary and licensed code that AOL licenses from other parties that any buyer would immediately be liable for fees on every download. Hence, this is why AOL is cutting off downloads of the applications.

The licensing aspect particularly complicates releasing Winamp as open source, which would require these licenses also be made available under an open source license, an unlikely proposition.

Although there are strong indications that there is a buyer for the Winamp and Shoutcast code and trademarks, we still do not know with any certainty who this buyer is. One would think it would make sense that both AOL and the buyer would want to announce a deal before Friday, letting each company benefit from some positive PR. But contract negotiations don’t always go according to what makes sense to an outside observer, especially while AOL is busy reconsidering the future of its CEO’s pet project, Patch and working on other reorganization efforts.
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