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  1. After 15 years of llama-whipping, AOL shuts down Winamp for good. Former Winamp employees blame AOL mismanagement that began over a decade ago The Dulles-based Winamp team, as of 2012. Winamp, the storied MP3 player bought by AOL in June 1999 for over $80 million, is set to shut down in exactly one month. According to a post that went live Wednesday at 12:00 pm Eastern Time on the Winamp website: "Winamp.com and associated Web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release notes for latest improvements to this last release. Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years." On Wednesday, Ars confirmed the announcement with Geno Yoham, Winamp’s general director since October 2008. He declined immediate comment but said that he would try to arrange a future interview. Ars wrote an extensive feature on the rise and fall of Winamp in June 2012, detailing AOL’s mismanagement of the property since its dotcom-boom acquisition. As we reported then, Winamp continued to receive updates and make a tiny amount of money for AOL throughout the last 15 years. AOL even released the first Android version in 2010 and a Mac version in 2011. While the company has declined to release official figures, former employees who worked on Winamp estimate its current revenue at around $6 million annually. And Winamp still has an estimated user base of millions worldwide, a small fraction of which live in the United States. All of that appears to be water under the bridge now. “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 hire and first general manager of Winamp, told Ars in 2012. Justin Frankel, Winamp's primary developer, seemed to concur in an interview he gave to BetaNews. (He declined to be interviewed by Ars in 2012.) “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.” Felser added that he recently seriously considered buying Winamp from AOL, too. "I spoke with the [corporate development] folks at AOL a couple times. Even reached out to [Winamp creator] Justin [Frankel] who was totally not interested. I think we talked about $5 million with some trailing equity." Original Article
  2. Verizon Media, the division comprising brands like HuffPost, AOL, Yahoo, TechCrunch and Engadget, is set to lay off about 150 employees, the latest retrenchment by the telco’s still-declining digital-media group. Verizon confirmed the cuts, which were first reported by CNN. The job cuts represent around 1.4% of the 10,500 employees in Verizon Media, which the telco formed after acquiring Yahoo and AOL. Verizon Media did not provide details on which areas of the business will be affected by the layoffs. The pink-slips will hit U.S. teams across the organization, per CNN. In a statement, a Verizon Media rep said, “Our goal is to create the best experiences for our consumers and the best platforms for our customers. Today we are investing in premium content, connections and commerce experiences that connect people to their passions and continue to align our resources to opportunities where we feel we can differentiate ourselves and scale faster.” The cutbacks come after Verizon Media let go 7% of its employees in January, or around 800 staffers. Verizon Media revenue in the third quarter of 2019 was $1.8 billion, flat with the prior quarter and down 2% year over year. Revenue from mobile advertising is now outpacing desktop, which has been declining for years, according to the company. Going forward, Verizon Media is focused on augmenting its advertising revenue with subscription fees (via services like HuffPost Plus and TechCrunch’s Extra Crunch), and transactions and ecommerce, such as the launch of Yahoo Sportsbook to allow mobile sports betting (initially only for users in New Jersey), CEO Guru Gowrappan said at a media conference last month. Gowrappen, speaking the Code Media conference, also said Verizon is not selling HuffPost after reports that the telco was shopping the brand (possibly because it could not find a buyer). Verizon Media previously sold off other assets including Tumblr, Flickr and Moviefone. Source
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