User-Agent: *
Allow: /

Custom Search

Jumat, 19 Desember 2008

2008 Year in Tech: Winners and Losers

by Lance Ulanoff
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
FCC vs. Comcast

Comcast got caught with its virtual hands in the broadband pipeline. No, it wasn't stealing. Instead, the broadband service provider was squeezing the pipe shut ever so slightly for its P2P bandwidth-hogging customers. Comcast executives preferred to call it "network management," but opponents saw this as another front in the fight for Net neutrality. Ultimately, the FCC slapped Comcast with an "enforcement" action for overdoing network management. Comcast appealed and then, finally, to avoid the label of Internet discrimination, introduced a broad-based Internet usage cap for all its customers. This is progress?

Winners: The FCC
Losers: Comcast customers
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
Changes to eBay Site

eBay made a number of sweeping changes to its online auction system, including the elimination of negative and neutral feedback, and it decreased visibility for those with low feedback. The company also lowered listing fees. While all this may sound like good news, most of the changes—including the rule that forces them to use eBay-owned PayPal, or a merchant credit card—hurt ordinary users and power sellers. Power sellers were so incensed by the changes that they tried to boycott eBay, at least twice. To this day, no one is sure if they were successful.

Winners: Large companies that sell on eBay and can bubble to the surface, thanks to their heavier and all-positive (thanks eBay!) user feedback
Losers: Every mom-and-pop eBay proprietor, some of whom tell me that eBay will never be the same.

source :,2817,2337027,00.asp

0 komentar: