2008 Year in Tech: Winners and Losers  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

What a year. We experienced a presidential election unlike any other—one in which technology and the Internet truly played a starring role. That contest produced a winner and a loser. Similarly, the myriad tech sagas we witnessed throughout 2008 produced a long list of victors and failures—at least as I see it. Let's reminisce.

HD Format Wars
The year began auspiciously with the surprising and sudden end of the HD format wars. No one surrendered. Instead, HD DVD partner Warner Bros. dropped its support of HD DVD. That set off a cascade of bad news for the format backed, most notably, by Toshiba. By the end of January, Gartner was calling a technical knockout for Sony-backed Blu-ray. Twelve months later, all that's left of HD DVD are some players owned by early adopters and thousands of orphaned HD DVD disks.
Winners: Sony and everyone who backed Blu-ray
Losers: HD DVD and me

Linux-based Palm OS
Sascha Segan teased us with news of a new, Linux-based Palm OS, which, naturally, still hasn't arrived.
Winners: All Palm competitors
Losers: Palm and anyone still married to the Palm platform

MacBook Air Hype
Apple introduced the MacBook Air, "The World's Thinnest Notebook". Initially, it turned a lot of people on—until they realized it has only one USB port and a fixed battery.
Winners: Apple
Losers: Anyone who bought into the MacBook Air hype

Microsoft and Yahoo Merger
The merger dance between Microsoft and Yahoo began anew in February as pundits, including John C. Dvorak, predicted mostly disaster if the two became one. (I admit it: I waffled.) The Redmond software giant offered Yahoo a 62 percent premium on shares ($44.6 billion), which Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang rejected. Corporate raider Carl Icahn tried to force the MS takeover, but to no avail. Fast-forward eight or nine months, and Yahoo's shares are worth roughly half of what they were in February. The company is laying off employees in bunches.

Yang has promised to step down, and Microsoft swears it has no interest in acquiring Yahoo. I still wonder if Microsoft's aim all along was to hobble a strong Internet competitor. Nah, that would be too Machiavellian.
Winners: Microsoft, Google
Losers: Yahoo, its shareholders, and Jerry Yang

Microsoft Acquires Danger
Microsoft gobbled up Sidekick manufacturer Danger, but my hoped-for "ZunePhone" never materialized.
Winners: None
Losers: None

Google's Android Platform
Google Android reared its open-source mobile platform head at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Of course, the press went mad for it, since it's from Google (yeah, we did, too). Eight months later, again amid much fanfare, the first Android Phone arrived, the T-Mobile G1. The press went mad for it again. For me it was, like, "Meh."

Winners: Google, T-Mobile
Losers: Microsoft, a company that simply cannot build any buzz for Windows Mobile-based phones
(More Winners & Losers)

This entry was posted on Dec 19, 2008 at 9:56 AM and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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