Great battles of the year

The world watched with bated breath as spats between tech giants such as Microsoft and Google, as well as Oracle and SAP, hogged the headlines in 2005.
Written by Jeanne Lim, Contributor

Intense rivalry between tech companies always makes good water-cooler talk, and sometimes, cheap theatrics are thrown in to spice up an otherwise dull landscape.

This year is no exception as some of the tech world's most dramatic battles unfurled between the IT powerhouses.

The increasing rivalry between Microsoft and several online competitors including Yahoo and Skype, made most of the year's headlines. Garnering high readership was the story of Bill Gates' memo penned in September, which singled out search giant Google as Microsoft's most prominent threat.

Earlier, Microsoft had become embroiled in a closely-watched legal tussle over Google's hiring of a former Microsoft executive to head its China operations.

Analysts, however, expressed concern that Microsoft's race to compete with Google and others could result in Redmond leaving its profitable business model in the dust.

Also dominating the headlines was Oracle which squared off its rivalry with SAP by snapping up Siebel in a deal worth US$5.8 billion. Oracle executives said that the megadeal was intended as a "major beachhead" against archrival SAP, the world's largest business-applications seller.

Such spats were not restricted to the software players, however.

The ongoing squabble between chipmakers AMD and Intel took a serious turn when AMD in June filed an antitrust suit against its mammoth rival.

In the suit, AMD alleged that Intel has a monopoly on microprocessors and used targeted discounts and strong-arm tactics to cut AMD out of the market. Intel, of course, denied AMD's claims.

A notable battle also emerged in this part of the world as Hewlett-Packard and Sun engaged in a war of words over the former's claims that it had outgunned Sun in a successful server migration program in the Asia-Pacific region.

In other corners of the industry, specifically the communications market, Finnish mobile giant Nokia challenged Research in Motion in the mobile enterprise space by buying IntelliSync for US$430 million, a developer of wireless messaging and e-mail technology. The deal put Nokia in direct competition with RIM, which also offers both a messaging and wireless solution as well as handsets to be used with the service.

So how will these battles pan out? Stay tuned to find out.

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