In breaking news, News.com reports that Microsoft has been ordered to pay $1.5 billion to Alcatel-Lucent for the technology used to power MP3 audio in Windows.
The figure has been set as per the number of PCs sold with Windows in 2003.
MP3 technology has been jointly built by Fraunhofer and Alcatel-Lucent. This court ruling against Microsoft may set the trend of Alcatel-Lucent suing othe big companies like Apple, Intel, Dell among others. Dell has infact already been sued in the past about this.
MP3 is a universal format and is definitely one of the most used formats today. However, if this continues, it may soon lose out to other formats like OGG, AMR or even WMA. The latter two give better compression for similar quality.
Another thing strange about this case is that Microsoft has paid $16 million to license MP3 for use from Fraunhofer. Now, will they need to fork out again to license it from Alcatel?