Top IT stories of 2010 - December

More competition in the cloud, IPOs aplenty and Intel takes aim at tablet

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Top IT stories of 2010 - December Creative launched its first tablet devices
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By  Mark Sutton Published  December 23, 2010

December carried on many of the key themes of 2010, with more momentum behind the tablet sector and increased cloud competition and continued deal making among regional telcos.

Gartner warned that tablets and other mobile devices have eaten into the PC market, with growing consumer interest in tablet and smartphone devices as the primary computing device. The analyst company cut its estimates for PC shipments in 2010 and 2011 and said it expects tablets to displace 10% of the PC market by 2014.

Details of the next generation of Apple's iPad filtered out from manufacturers, with a better screen, dual cameras and other enhancements predicted for the smaller, thinner device that is expected in April 2011.

Audio hardware specialists Creative got in on the tablet business, with the launch of an Android-based tablet range. The ZiiO Pure Wireless Entertainment Tablet have been designed to play to Creative's strength in audio, with superior sound and connectivity.

Intel, something of a late comer to the tablet and smartphone market, was bullish about its prospects in the sector for next year. Intel CTO Justin Rattner stated that the company now had the processors to deliver to both sectors, and that there would be 35 Atom-based tablets at the upcoming CES show.

Google showed off the latest version of the Android operating system, Android 2.3, the fastest version yet of the mobile OS, along with its latest smartphone the Nexus S, which has been co-developed with Samsung.

In consumer electronics, the battle for 3D TV supremacy continued, with LG announcing a 72 inch 3D HD LCD model, the world's largest, just weeks after Samsung unveiled its 65 inch model.

In the cloud space, Oracle pitched in with its new productivity in the cloud offering, with the launch of Oracle Cloud Office. Based on the Open Office suite, which Oracle acquired through its purchase of Sun Microsystems, the new service will be a direct rival to established apps-in-the-cloud providers Google and Microsoft.

In return, CRM-as-a-Service provider Salesforce.com took aim at Oracle with a new cloud database offering. Database.com, the company's new database-as-a-service solution will provide a cloud-based database solution with support for all languages and devices, allowing developers to use it as a back-end database for any type of application.

Staying with Oracle, it emerged that co-president Mark Hurd is under investigation by US Securities and Exchange Commission. The ongoing SEC investigation is focused on whether Hurd gave insider information about HP's purchase of EDS to an outside partner, and also claims he falsified expenses and that he may have deleted files related to his resignation from an HP laptop.

In the telecoms sector Etisalat drew closer to completing a deal to gain a controlling interest in Zain. The operator is pursuing a 46% stake in the operator, for $10.5 billion, to access Zain's presence in emerging markets. At time of writing, Etisalat had reached an agreement with one consortium of shareholders on the purchase, but faced objections from others.

Wataniya Mobile, Palestine's second mobile operator, announced the successful closing of its IPO, raising $75 million for the operator, with demand mainly came Palestinian retail investors, and a broad base of international institutional investors in Europe and the Middle East.

Mobile phone retailer, Axiom Telecom, abandoned its planned IPO on NASDAQ Dubai, citing 'widespread concerns about market conditions and liquidity'.

The FTTH Council Europe announced that UAE was the first country in the Middle East to join its global leader rankings for Fibre-to-the-Home deployment. With a FTTH/B penetration rate of 30.8%, only Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong have higher fibre penetration rates.

Also in the UAE, Etisalat said that it will cut 3% of its staff to save costs. The operator is looking to shed around 300 jobs from its UAE staff of 10,460, to help control its AED 4 billion ($1.08bn) staff bill.

Batelco announced a replacement for former CEO Gert Rieder, who resigned in October. Rashid Abdulla, the managing director of Qualitynet, Batelco's data services company, who has been with the operator since 1986 became the first Bahraini to take the CEO mantle.

Avaya also had a change of local management, with Mohammed Areff joining from NCR as managing director for its operations in the Gulf region. Areff replaced Avaya veteran Roger El Tawil, who left the company to join his family's business.

Finally, IBM revealed that it pit an artificial intelligence engine against human opponents on a special ‘man vs machine' series of the US game show Jeopardy! ‘Watson' a DeepQA engine based on an IBM Power 7 server will compete against the show's two most successful for a $1 million prize in February.

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2010 retrospective