A year like the last, and then some

Stock markets remained volatile, economic forecast bleak. 2008 saw little change from the previous year, though some headliners and scandals did help spice things up.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

When the industry wrapped up 2007 at the start of last year, stock markets were volatile, oil prices were skyrocketing and the economic forecast was not looking good. A year on, little has changed.

Throw in some melamine, the collapse of some of the financial world's biggest names, and further market consolidation--and that pretty much wraps up 2008. The past year, however, was also peppered with scandals, controversies and verbal tussles, providing perhaps some much-needed entertainment for industry watchers.

Samsung, for instance, lost chairman Lee Kun Hee in April when he stepped down--after helming the company for 20 years--over tax evasion charges. Lee was inducted, and convicted, and slapped with a three-year jail sentence.

In November 2008, another scandal hit the tech market when LG, Sharp and Chunghwa pled guilty to price-fixing charges. The three companies had participated in a covert agreement to set prices on thin-film transistor LCDs commonly used in computer monitors, television and mobile devices.

The year also saw the creation of a new acronym, Microhoo, spun from the long-drawn tug-of-war between Microsoft and Yahoo, as both companies debated over a potential merger.

Scandals, controversies and economic gloom aside, 2008 had its sparks. The year saw some long-awaited products and new releases hitting the market, including Google's Chrome browser, Apple's iPhone launch in some Asian markets, and Firefox 3. Netbooks and ultramobile PCs also made their mark last year, clocking significant gains in the market which saw various new models being rolled out from vendors including Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Asus.

Here's a selection of the top 10 headliners in 2008, ranked chronologically, based on the amount of reader feedback and number of pageviews the articles generated, and their impact on the industry.

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