“MP3, the digital audio coding format, changed the way we listen to music and drove the adoption of countless new devices over the last couple of decades,” Rhett Jones reports for Gizmodo. “And now, it’s dead.”

“The developer of the format announced this week that it has officially terminated its licensing program,” Jones reports. “The actual ownership history of the various patent rights involved in MP3 technology is complicated and messy. But the Fraunhofer Institute has claimed the right to license certain MP3 patents to software developers who want to ‘distribute and/or sell decoders and/or encoders’ for it.”

“The decision is largely symbolic, but it’s kind of like when all manufacturers start installing CD-ROMs instead of floppy drives,” Jones reports. “There will be some stragglers who still support the MP3 but newer formats will be the standard. AAC — or ‘Advanced Audio Coding,’ — was developed in part by the Fraunhofer Institute and is considered the standard today.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Told ya so, a very long time ago:

The format shakeout will continue, but if we were to bet, we’d be betting on AAC… That’s the format served up by the market-dominating Apple iTunes Music Store and also the format the leading digital music player, Apple’s iPod, uses… In addition, the announcement that HP will rebrand Apple’s iPod and the upcoming Apple/Pepsi 100 million song promotion will futher cement AAC/Fairplay as the de facto legit digital music format. — MacDailyNews, January 13, 2004

There already is a de facto standard. It’s called MPEG-4 Audio: Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) with the market-dominating FairPlay, Apple’s digital rights management (DRM) system – look for the .m4p file extension in your iTunes Music folder… The de facto standard for digital online music is an MPEG-4 Audio File (Protected) or .m4p. — MacDailyNews, December 15, 2004

AAC is not some proprietary Apple-only format. AAC is MPEG-4 Audio. Apple should’ve just called it MP4 to soothe simple minds.MacDailyNews Take, October 6, 2005

AAC is an audio codec that is superior to the old MP3. Think of it as MP4 Audio, because that’s what it is.MacDailyNews Take, April 30, 2007