Happy Birthday Winamp... Long Live Mike The Llama - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
08:15 PM
Michael Singer
Michael Singer

Happy Birthday Winamp... Long Live Mike The Llama

The Winamp player is celebrating 10 years of existence next month with an Anniversary Edition player so it can build on its 60 million monthly active unique user empire. Take that, iTunes!

The Winamp player is celebrating 10 years of existence next month with an Anniversary Edition player so it can build on its 60 million monthly active unique user empire. Take that, iTunes!Long before Apple decided on a music player and download site, Justin Frankel and his friends started Nullsoft (a play on Microsoft's name) and built a dandy little MP3 player called Winamp. It was simple. It was straightforward. It had a great mascot: Mike the Llama. And unlike Real Player in the late '90s, it worked every time.

I was at my first startup when I first experienced Winamp. The office was exploring the joys of peer-to-peer music sharing and Winamp version 2 was our player of choice. In addition to playlists, you could make your own skins and there was a Visualizer that was wicked cool.

Flash forward to 2007. Winamp is owned by AOL. On Thursday, the company launched its 10th Anniversary Edition (version 5.5), which is now in beta. The general release will be available on Oct. 10.

According to AOL and Nullsoft, the latest version will include a "redesigned user interface with album art; dynamic "More Like This" playlist service; expanded "Remote Access" to media, including video and access via next-generation gaming consoles; the "Media Monitor," which automatically detects and playlists playable Web content; and integrated search features that let you explore articles, videos, find up-to-date concert information and more about your favorite artists."

OK, I know you're saying that iTunes has more than six million songs, 550 television shows, and over 500 movies available. It also has sold more than three billion songs, 100 million TV shows, and more than two million movies. I say, save the drama for your llama. There's always room for more than one media player in this world. Winamp was recently rated as the second most downloaded Windows application, behind ICQ, by CNET. And besides, Winamp has changed with the times as well.

AOL said the Anniversary Edition will host iPod and other MP3 player support. You'll be able to manage music and videos and create playlists on your iPod or other MP3 player. Plus, you can install Winamp on Linux. Apple only allows iTunes on Mac or Windows.

How about you? What's your favorite media player? Post your favorite llama memories below.

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