Top IT stories of 2010 - January

Google gets into phones, iPad debuts and Jordan looks to open source

Tags: 2010retrospective
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Top IT stories of 2010 - January Steve Jobs unveils the Apple iPad
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By  Mark Sutton Published  December 23, 2010

2010 kicked off with the Consumer Electronics Show in Los Angeles, and the announcement of two of the big three announcements in January from the gadget sector.

Google got into the consumer hardware game, with the launch of its first mobile handset, the HTC-built Nexus One, along with an online consumer store to sell the phones. Microsoft also gave out details and a launch time frame for its Project Natal (launched as Kinect) motion detection game controller at CES, a major coup in console technology for the company.

Google also hit headlines in mid-January, when it publicly announced that it had been the victim of a cyber attack that originated in China. The attacks, which occurred throughout 2009, were believed to have been launched against Google and several other US companies from a university in China. In Google's case, it appeared the attacks were targeting the Gmail accounts of Chinese activists. Official US suspicions that the Chinese government had ordered the attacks were later confirmed in the Wikileaked-US embassy cables.

The turn of the year saw the return of an old IT problem, as date change over errors in software gave some IT admins flashbacks to the Y2K bug. The switch from 09 to 10 caused errors that knocked out 30 million German debit and credit cards, leaving around one third of all cards issued by German banks unable to use ATMs or make payments, while Australia's Bank of Queensland, Symantec, Kaspersky, and open source project SpamAssasin also faced date-related problems.

January also saw Oracle finally get permission from the European Commission to complete its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems, a move that would lead to some of the more interesting developments in the enterprise sector later in the year.

The end of January saw the other big announcement in the CE sector, as Apple finally unveiled its new tablet device - the Apple iPad. While Apple fans would have to wait until April to pick up the iPad, the tablet went on to be a resounding success for Apple, with sales predicted to hit 12 million by the end of 2010 and many commentators hailing it as a revolution in personal computing.

In the Middle East, Jordan made the news several times over. The Jordanian Ministry of Information and Communications Technology signed an MOU with open source database management company Ingres to promote open source software adoption in the country and to make the country an open source centre of excellence for the region.

Mobile operator Friendi announced its plans for an MVNO in Jordan with Zain, to take on the country's three existing mobile operators.

Jordanian authorities announced that the country's Press and Publications Law would be extended to all online content including news sites and blogs, drawing criticism from media activists who said that it will have a negative impact on internet freedom in the country. The Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications countered that the decision requires all parties to "live up to their responsibilities".

Another country looking for greater control of online content was Qatar, in this case to protect children online. The Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development (DIIFSD) announced it was working with the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) to develop server-based methods for filtering content, to screen out content unsuitable for children.

Qatar also saw a green first in January, with a trial deployment by Vodafone Qatar of the country's first hybrid-powered mobile base station using Alcatel-Lucent technology to harness both wind and solar energy. The trial site in Qatar makes uses of an ‘energy controller' that can simultaneously draw power from both photovoltaic panels and wind turbines.

Other operators in the region ran into trouble during this month, with Turkey's largest mobile operator, Turkcell, getting hit with a $24 million fine for alleged anti-competitive behaviour. The operator was accused of various infringements of anti-monopoly laws and abusing its 56% market share.

In the UAE, security company Symantec revealed that the UAE was 14th on its list of top fifteen countries with brands targeted by phishing attacks, after a high number of phishing attacks on one, unnamed bank based in UAE.

SAP announced that it would be moving its new regional HQ to new premises in the region to accommodate regional growth.

Also in the UAE, Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Investment Co (ATIC) said that it plans to buy out AMD's stake in chip manufacturer Globalfoundries. ATIC said it is looking to a complete take over of Globalfoundries over time. Globalfoundries also announced in January that it had officially integrated operations with $3.9 billion acquisition Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, making it the third largest chip manufacturer in the world.

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2010 retrospective