by Martin Veitch

That was 2010: An early round-up of the year in tech

Jan 04, 2010

January:There is spate of predictions about what will happen in 2010 with some pundits referring back to predictions from previous year and assessing their correctness. Build-up to Apple product announcement: some columnists attempt humorous guesses at names of product; some say it will be the end of newspapers/books/life as we know it; others gloomily predict failure. The actual Apple product announcement surprises/amazes/disappoints and there is some sidebar commentary on Steve Jobs no-show/’gaunt’ appearance. Analysts say the health of the Apple CEO is “absolutely germane” to company stock strength; other commentators say this fascination with Jobs’ appearance is ghoulish. Some columns use cold weather as opportunity to discuss home-working/videoconferencing/GPS. There is a minor Microsoft-related security scare.

February:Build-up to general election has plenty of jockeying for position with sudden appearance of numerous think-tanks calling for change in government IT policy (‘It’s time for change’, ‘Britain needs a change’, ‘For god’s sake, we need change’ and, for variety, ‘Sorry, Gordon, it does not compute’). Labour calls these demands ‘Change for change’s sake’, dreamed up by a bunch of Barbour-wearing toffs who say ‘pshaw’ a lot when not on TV and who would only get to a laptop if it was harnessed to a fox in the countryside. There is a minor Microsoft-related security scare.

March:Company financial reports prompt headlines like ‘Tech bounces back… a bit’ (Wall Street Journal) , ‘Technology firms edge forward on cautious return to IT spending’ (FT) and ‘Is tech still dreck???!!!’ (Jim Cramer’s Mad Money).

April:Google phone is now generally available but British resellers are too peeved by the search giant’s intervention to push it. In response, Palm does something and Motorola does something, but not enough to make anybody care. There are several April Fool stories, some of which get re-reported. This re-reporitng is condemned in columns as “churnalism at its worst” and “an indictment of the state of the media”. Microsoft is involved in a small-scale security issue.

May: Leaks about the next versions of Windows and Internet Explorer. “Faster … slower … cheaper … privacy doubts … may pique regulators’ interest.”

June:The silly season begins in earnest. Google and Microsoft buy some companies you’ve never heard of. Novell is acquired. There is talk Microsoft could rebrand its search offering by buying rights to the Alta Vista name. The same company is linked to two security scares.

July:Nothing happens. Some mid-range newspapers shut down. Journalists compile Top 10 lists and varnish their CVs while knocking out stories about Microsoft-related security scares and intoxicated, angry columns about “the state of the media”.

August:Microsoft, IBM and Oracle buy big companies, sparking stories about “a return to tech M&A”.

September:Two companies you have never heard of say they will float, sparking stories about the “return of the tech IPO”.

October: First projections for Christmas online spending appear. It will be a “bonanza for web shopping”, reports Metro. The Daily Mail offers a spread on the “sad state of the British high street” that begins, “It was once the hub and place of congregation of Britain’s housewives but…”

November:There is a new version of the Google phone and several new BlackBerries but everybody is waiting for the next iPhone, “scheduled for January and to be unveiled at the annual Apple conference in San Francisco…”

December: Journalists work on ‘Best (and worst) of 2009’ pieces, several of which begin “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” There is a minor Microsoft-related security scare and some other scares relating to malware and Christmas. Journalists are too busy in the pub to care.