Long plagued by legal challenges from major record labels, bankrupt MP3 search engine SeeqPod has been on the brink of extinction for months. But CEO Kasian Franks recently told Wired.com that SeeqPod was in final acquisition talks with a major media company, and that its savior would be able to confer legitimacy on the company by negotiating agreements with the labels that he himself could not. Now, the company appears to be tipping its hand, suggesting that Microsoft (s msft) is the buyer.
SeeqPod’s home page, which has been down more often than not over the past few weeks, now features a pair of links suggesting that the service is cocooned for rebirth. One of the links points to search.microsoft.com -– not necessarily something I’d free-associate with metamorphosis. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant fits Franks’ description of a potential suitor, but was not among the three he named in the Wired interview — Apple (s aapl), Google (s goog) and Live Nation (s lyv). I’ve left a message with SeeqPod seeking comment, and will update as I gather more information.
Based in Emeryville, Calif., 4-year-old SeeqPod has so far raised at least $5 million from founders and investors. Its search engine, derived from technology initially developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, allowed users to find songs wherever they were lying around on the web, then listen to streams and create playlists. But the startup has run afoul of major record labels, and was sued by both Warner Music Group and EMI Music.