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We’ll look back at 2012 as the year everything changed

05 Jul 2012
V3 reporter Dan Worth

In years to come those working in and around the technology industry will look back at 2012 as the year when everything changed, when the first global boom of technology ended and the second wave began.

Across the industry everything is in flux: well-established, household brands are evolving, changing, even disappearing; new technologies are emerging and changing the world and new businesses are emerging all the time to shake-up the landscape.

Where to start? Let's take Microsoft. For more than 30 years Microsoft has produced its slightly dated, rather dull, but unquestionable functional, Windows system for its hardware partners to stick on their identikit laptops, and that was that.

This year, it's all changing. Windows 8 is a huge change in direction for Microsoft, with the firm creating a system so far removed from the layout of its traditional Windows platforms as to be unrecognisable. It's a huge bet on consumers and companies embracing this change.

In support of this, and in a radical change to the relationships the firm has had with Samsung, Dell, HP and the rest, it unveiled two tablet devices designed and built in-house. That shows a stunning lack of faith in its partners to produce Windows 8 tablets good enough to compete with Apple's iPad, the market leader by some distance.

Will these gambles pay off? In 15 years' time we will either look back and marvel at the firm's foresight and forthright decision making, or tell our incredulous children that once Microsoft dominated the world but blew it all in 2012 with Windows 8 and two terrible tablets.

Microsoft, and now Google with its Nexus 7 tablet, have been forced into this position due to the obscene success of Apple - which has cemented its position as the world's biggest technology firm by some margin during 2012.

The firm's share price has rocketed in just seven months from $411 to around $600, thanks to huge sales of its iPad and iPhones. The widely-expected iPhone 5 should further enhance its power in the mobile market.

Ah yes, the mobile phone market, there's an area worth looking at, as it evolves at a speed many have found impossible to cope with, with firms such as Nokia and Research in Motion (RIM) both caught on the hop.

Indeed, it's not that unreasonable to suggest Nokia may not exist by the end of 2012 - imagine saying that in 2005! The firm's cash reserves are dwindling and its Lumia devices have failed to shift more than a few million units.

It could easily be bought out and gobbled up by Microsoft, or perhaps even Apple, for its valuable patent portfolio.

Then there's RIM, the darling of the mobile world circa 2006/7, when its BlackBerry devices were seen as world-changing. But, in just five years, they now appear outdated and outmoded.

Again, it's not hard to imagine the incredulous voices of the future.

"Dad, you're honestly telling me that people thought a phone without a touch-screen and a Qwerty keyboard was good?"

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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