Could last week's verdict ruling against Microsoft over including mp3 support in Windows spell the end for the infamous format? With $1.52 billion being drained from their pockets and into Alcatel-Lucent's, many companies may see it as a sign to avoid using mp3 technology in favor of something publically available, without having to worry about licensing. Of course, the most logical step after this would be one of the various open source formats, such as Ogg. In this case, could a lawsuit between two behemoth companies squibbling over IP really be beneficial to open source? Many think so:

"If this verdict is allowed to stand, companies will have to make hard choices about whether to continue to offer MP3 technology," he said in a statement sent to Wired News late Thursday. Licensees would have to "pay twice for the same technology -- one standard charge to the industry-recognized licensee of MP3 (Fraunhofer/Thomson), and again, an unprecedented amount to Alcatel-Lucent."
Of course, mp3 still has the most universal compatibility – letting go of mp3 won't be easy for many. Just about any media player, software or handheld, supports it, whereas a lesser amount support WMA or OGG. Microsoft is of course still fighting the fine, and this could go back to the courts and be changed. Still, one must wonder, especially with several other companies being sued over mp3.