Top IT stories of 2010 - September

Top IT companies swap executives, BlackBerry gets into tablets, more 3D TVs on the market

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Top IT stories of 2010 - September 3D TV was everywhere in 2010
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By  Mark Sutton Published  December 23, 2010

September saw upheaval in the management of several global IT companies, with the market looking like executive musical chairs at times.

Ex-HP boss Mark Hurd did not take long to find a new berth, popping up as co-president of Oracle. He replaced Charles Phillips, who was to go on and join ERP vendor Infor in October.

Oracle CEO (and friend of Hurd) Larry Ellison gushed: "Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he'll do even better at Oracle. There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark."

Filling Hurd's role at HP was SAP veteran Léo Apotheker, who came on board as chief executive officer and president at the end of September. He had resigned from SAP in February, after 20 years at the company where he had served as deputy CEO and a number of other roles, although he lasted less than one year as the sole CEO.

HP also finally appointed a new managing director for its Middle East operations, with Eyad Shihabi, joining from ICT services provider Smartworld. The role had been open since John Hoonhout left HP in May.

Nokia's CEO and president, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, found himself out of a job after a long period of uncertainty, as Stephen Elop came in from Microsoft's business division to take the CEO job. Elop is the first non-Finn to hold such a high position at Nokia and he was tasked with expanding Nokia's business into software and services for mobile devices, instead of being primarily reliant on hardware.

Kallasvuo was swiftly followed out of Nokia by Anssi Vanjoki, head of Nokia's Mobile Solutions unit, who stepped down just three days after the announcement of Elop's appointment.

Nokia was quick to show that it was still in the running in the smartphone market though, with the announcement of a new family of Symbian-based smartphones and an enhanced Ovi Store, to deliver a new generation of easy-to-use smartphones featuring location based services and social networking, at its Nokia World event.

The threat of a BlackBerry ban in the UAE still lingered, although Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), said on 19th September that the company was still in constructive talks with the UAE regulators, and that 'good progress' had been made in discussions.

By 26th September talks had progressed to 'very advanced and positive' status, according to remarks attributed to the secretary general of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, but the month ended with no clear ruling either way.

In a more positive note for RIM, the company unveiled its new BlackBerry PlayBook, and the BlackBerry Tablet OS, which was positioned as an enterprise rival to Apple's iPad. RIM said that the seven inch tablet device would provide a full web experience on a mobile device and played up the tablets security features. At present, PlayBook is not expected to be available until end of Q1 next year.

September also saw the launch of a wide range of headline-grabbing solutions from across the industry.

Etisalat and Du announced that the iPhone 4 would go on sale in the UAE on 25th September.

Avaya revealed a new set of solutions aimed at bringing video collaboration to a much wider audience. The Avaya Flare Experience includes new products and software for real time enterprise video communication and collaboration, to make video collaboration both easier to use and cheaper to operate.

Oracle unveiled its play in private cloud computing systems, with the launch of the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud machine. The machine is designed to offer a complete cloud application infrastructure, including integrated servers, network, storage, VM, operating system and middleware.

Sony added to the ongoing flood of 3D TVs, with the launch of a new range of Bravia-brand 3D HDTVs in the Middle East. The consumer electronics sector relentlessly pushed 3D technology throughout 2010, although even industry insiders were not convinced that it was anything more than a fad.

More importantly in the consumer sector, it was confirmed that its Xbox Kinect motion tracking system was compatible with traditional Gulf Arab garments such as the ‘dishdasha' and ‘abaiya'. The Kinect was on display at the Games 10 event, and Windows Middle East was able to confirm it seemed to work for players in traditional clothing.

AMD announced the end of the 25 year old ATI graphics card brand. The microprocessor company, which had bought ATI in 2007, said that despite saying it would keep the brand, it had instead decided to replace it with AMD's own marque.

In Oman, Intel signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education to train 45,000 teachers over the next five years on how to better use technology in classrooms.

Nawras, Oman's second telecom operator, announced plans for an IPO of 40% of its company shares, which it hoped would raise between $470 million and $603 million. Response to the offer was lukewarm however, with the IPO closing in October at the lowest end of the mooted price range, and only after bankers kept order books open for an extra week to attract more retail investors.

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2010 retrospective