America Online purchases WinAMP maker

Online giant America Online (AOL) announced this week that it would be buying Sedona, Arizona-based Nullsoft, makers of the popular WinAMP audio player, for approximately $80 million. AOL is also purchasing Spinner Networks Inc., a streaming audio supplier for about $320 million.

"Combining these leading Internet music brands with the audience reach of our brands will lift music online to the next level of popularity," said AOL's Bob Pittman. "We plan to build downloadable music, Internet radio and overall music features into each of our brands, as well as customize them for the audience and partners of each of our brands."

Nullsoft rose to fame and fortune with its WinAMP audio player, which is designed primarily for the controversial MP3 format, a target of record company executives because it can create clean digital copies of prerecorded music. But WinAMP has evolved into a sophisticated media player that works with various audio formats, not just MP3

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