MP3 is no less alive now than it was last month or will be next year — the last known MP3 patents have simply expired.
So while there’s a debate to be had — in a moment — about whether MP3 should still be used today, Fraunhofer’s announcement has nothing to do with that, and is simply the ending of its patent-licensing program (because the patents have all expired) and a suggestion that we move to a newer, still-patented format.
I admit this story really got my goat. It’s a company transparently trying to push people away from a format on which they don’t make money, and towards one on which they do. Judging by the number of “MP3 is dead” headlines I saw, they may have succeeded too.
If you really think you can hear the difference between high-bitrate MP3 and AAC, I’d love to see you do it in a double-blind test. Succeed, and I’ll buy you a cookie.