The top software stories of 2009

Google Chrome OS, Oracle-Sun and Microsoft's slew of launches

Google Chrome OS, Oracle-Sun and Microsoft's slew of launches

The past 12 months have seen some big developments that have shaken up the software industry and could potentially have an even bigger impact in 2010.

Search giant Google was the company behind some of the most disruptive launches of the year, including its Chrome operating system which will run on users' computers but access applications via the internet. The operating system will be pre-installed on netbooks in 2010 before arriving on more powerful machines later on.

Google also made headlines with its collaboration platform. Named Wave, the software allows people to work together using a single window to exchange real-time IM, photos, videos, maps and documents.

From one software behemoth to another: June marked a year since Microsoft founder Bill Gates departed the company so silicon.com took a look at how things have changed since Gates left to pursue his second career in philanthropy.

One of the biggest changes to the company is its greater acceptance of web-hosted software: a major sign of which came in the form of Azure. The cloud computing platform will provide businesses with processing power, storage and a range of development tools via the internet.

Microsoft announced that Azure will be launched in January next year and revealed more details of the services that will feature on the platform.

This year also saw Microsoft launch a revamped search engine called Bing, setting out its stall to take on Google at its own game.

However, the most significant product launch for Microsoft was, of course, that of its latest desktop OS, Windows 7.

Its debut was met with more positive responses than its predecessor and immediately enjoyed much stronger sales than Vista too.

Not to be outdone, Apple launched an upgrade to its OS X operating system in the shape of Snow Leopard. The OS sports a host of improvements as the company tries to make a larger dent in the market still dominated by Microsoft.

Meanwhile, 2009 also saw Oracle table a massive $7.4bn bid for Sun Microsystems. If the deal goes through, Oracle will also get its hands on Sun hardware, the open source Solaris operating system and the MySQL database technology - something the EU has particular reservations about - along with the Java programming language that underpins Oracle's Fusion middleware technology.

Another software giant, SAP, made a landmark deal with its users in 2009 as it agreed to delay a proposed support price increase until it had met a range of key performance indicators.

And finally, virtualisation continued its move into the mainstream in 2009 - with 2010 likely to see the technology move more to the desktop too.

Software stories of 2009

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