2008 Between the Lines

Welcome to the year in Between the Lines—in about 5 minutes (I hope). 2008 was a wild one and January feels like it was 20 years ago.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Welcome to the year in Between the Lines—in about 5 minutes (I hope). 2008 was a wild one and January feels like it was 20 years ago. Here’s a brief recap….

January: The year kicks off with the usual Consumer electronics show, which is then upstaged by Macworld. Bill Gates delivers his last keynote. Meanwhile merger mania kicked off the year. Oracle wins BEA Systems; Sun acquires MySQL and proclaims itself an open source leader and SAP closes its Business Objects purchase. eBay CEO Meg Whitman steps down.

February: Microsoft makes a bid for Yahoo kicking off a never-ending soap opera that turns into shareholder tragedy. Apple signals that the iPhone will become more business friendly. Netscape goes away forever. CIO surveys indicate that ERP software is en vogue.

March: Google's every hiccup is monitored to see if its search monetization is slowing. Yahoo plays defense to prevent Microsoft acquisition, talks to Time Warner, proxy war duel looms. AOL acquires Bebo to expand its social networking footprint. Russell Shaw, one of ZDNet's finest, passes away.

April: Microsoft entertains the thought of raising its Yahoo bid but refrains. Yahoo climbs into bed with Google to thwart Microsoft. SAP delays BusinessByDesign. Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang takes $1 salary in 2007 and earns every penny. Psystar brings back the Mac clone much to Apple's chagrin.

May: Sun lays off workers, blames U.S. economy. It's really just the first installment of a long year of pain for Sun. Microsoft walks away from Yahoo, but not really. Wimax is saved after Clearwire and Sprint form joint venture and Google and Intel back it. HP buys EDS.

June: Yahoo adopts poison pill to keep Microsoft away. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn enters the Microhoo fray. He wants Yang gone. Yahoo announces Google search pact. Microsoft is really gone now. Icahn stuck in proxy fight and money losing investment. Apple unveils MobileMe--its personal cloud meets iPhone service and problems abound. Gates’ last day at Microsoft as an executive.

July: Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization starts to give VMware headaches. Michael Dell buys $100 million of Dell stock (and winds up losing money). Yahoo cuts deal with Icahn. Icahn and Steve Ballmer get chummy to turn up the heat on Yang. Amazon suffers S3 outage, the latest in a string.

August: FCC slaps Comcast on wrist for network neutrality violations. Yahoo faces its shareholders. Microsoft showcases Silverlight via NBC's Olympics site. Silverlight passes test with flying colors. Complaints surface about Apple's newly launched iPhone 3G. Palm launches Treo Pro. Google and Yahoo tell the feds they are proceeding with their search deal.

September: Google launches its Chrome browser to take on Firefox and IE. Microsoft launches a pro Vista ad campaign with Jerry Seinfeld, but no one gets the joke. Wall Street melts down, financial services spending pullbacks hurt tech companies.

October: Economy worsens as do technology earnings. CIOs plan for Armageddon budgets. Yahoo shares plummet further. Jerry Yang looks silly for not taking Microsoft's buyout offer, plans Yahoo restructuring. AMD unveils its asset smart strategy; plans to spin off manufacturing unit. Ballmer says it's ok to wait for Windows 7 (as if he has a choice) and says a Yahoo deal still makes sense.

November: Google walks away from Yahoo search deal. Will Yahoo and Microsoft cut a deal? Yang delivers dreadful Web 2.0 Expo keynote. Yang steps down as Yahoo CEOIcahn averages down on his Yahoo investment to grab a 5.4 percent stake. He's still underwater by a few miles. Verizon Wireless launches blackberry Storm--an alleged iPhone killer. Barack Obama wins presidential election; plans to bring in U.S. CTO. Sun cuts more jobs as it is crushed by weak economy. Intel's quarter unravels.

December: Apple and Steve Jobs bail on Macworld. It's a bah humbug electronics Christmas. IT spending expectations are low for 2009 and enterprise software is in flux. Chrome leaves beta. Intuit steps into a TurboTax mess over printing fees and backtracks.  As we leave the year numerous questions are left hanging? Does Sun have a future? What's Yahoo's future course following layoffs? We'll find out in 2009. How's Microsoft's year shaping up?

For now, it's time to put 2008 to bed. Thanks for reading.

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