As the curtain falls on the noughties, ZDNet UK looks back at its coverage of the past 10 years and offers its take on some of the key technology events of the millennium's opening decade.
People are bound to disagree about the significance of some of the more peripheral developments. Yet surely anyone who tries to make sense of our recent past will highlight the same two big themes.
The first must be the growth of the internet. For a decade that kicked off to the sound of popping champagne corks and bursting dot-com bubbles, things started fairly inauspiciously. Nevertheless, history will surely say this period belongs to the emergence of the internet. It has become a mainstream force that has changed everything it touched — and it has touched everything.
The other major theme must lie in the rise of personal comms and the smartphone. Of course, some of the things people and organisations do today with mobile telephony were already possible in the late 1990s. But the ubiquity and growing sophistication of the smartphone surely make it one of the technological landmarks of this first decade.
Rather than survey the whole period, ZDNet UK has taken a series of snapshots of the publication's coverage. We've gone back 10 years to 1999 and the eve of the new millennium, and then five years to 2004, finishing off with a look at 2009.
1999: Key IT events
Security In late March 1999 internet mail servers around the world started to shut down under the weight of infected messages spawned by the Melissa virus. The Microsoft Word-based macro virus was the creation of David Smith, who was tracked down and arrested in a combined operation by the FBI and New Jersey police barely a week after the first reports of the email-based malware.
Smith received a 20-month prison sentence and a $5,000 (£3,000) fine for his handiwork. The virus is reckoned to have caused millions of pounds of damage and formed the model for later attacks such as Kournikova and The Love Bug.
Internet In 1999 the dot-com phenomenon was booming, with the internet industry still blithely unaware of the disaster to come in early 2000. Fuelled by low interest rates and an unquestioning belief in any stock with an 'e-' prefix, investors backed companies with no business model beyond an online presence.
Communications In the 10th century, King Harald Bluetooth brought various restive Scandinavian tribes into a single kingdom. In 1998 his name was borrowed for a new short-range wireless protocol that could link disparate fixed and mobile devices. This open standard's familiar blue logo consists of a runic H and B.
In the event, fears that software which used two-digit year dates would irrevocably break just after the stroke of midnight in the new millennium turned out to be unjustified.
Yet there is no doubt that the investment in new software, development and hardware upgrades, designed to ward off potential disaster, had a huge impact on the IT industry, amplified by the dot-com boom.
Internet Five years after the official launch of the Google search engine, the company floated almost 20 million shares at $85 each in October 2004. Just over three years later Google's share price peaked at almost $715, and stands at about $600 today.
Two other major milestones of 2004 deserve a mention: first, the 4 February appearance of social-networking site Facebook, initially named 'thefacebook' by its then 19-year-old creator, student Mark Zuckerberg. From its origins on the Harvard campus, the site now has more than 300 million active users and is reckoned to be the world's largest social network.
This time the Commission ruled that Microsoft would have to offer a version of Windows without Windows Media Player built in, open up its server APIs and protocols to rivals within 120 days, and pay a €497m fine.
Internet A little more distance would help pick out the 2009 events that will have enduring consequences. But micro-blogging site Twitter has undoubtedly made its mark on the year and became more mainstream, with its user numbers increasing from six million in 2008 to 47 million this year.
It demonstrates how the same open-source operating system is not only taking off in a variety of handsets and now netbooks, but is offering equal if not better functionality than Apple's iPhone, and enjoying the backing of a large number of manufacturers.
But surely just as important in its implications for the software landscape is July's announcement of Google's Chrome OS, a clear declaration of the search giant's intent to take on Microsoft and the Windows desktop.