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Top 10 stories of 2010: Living in the post-PC world

Marc Ferranti | Dec. 7, 2010
The top stories of 2010, however, show that the PC for many people around the world has already become just one of several devices used to tap the Internet and a world of applications for entertainment and business -- and that increasingly, the main Internet access device is not a PC.

Verizon launches LTE network -- 4G or not, it's next generation

Verizon Wireless's launch this month of its high-speed LTE (Long Term Evolution) network in 38 U.S. cities capped a year in which long-planned, next-generation wireless networks around the world became a reality. Verizon laid claim to offering the first significant nationwide LTE network but was beaten to market by regional provider MetroPCS in the U.S., where it also battles Wi-Max and HSPA+ networks. Globally, in the last month alone Vodafone in Germany, Telenor and Tele2 in Sweden and NTT DoCoMo in Japan announced pricing for LTE services. Meanwhile, the ITU declared that the only technologies that qualify as 4G are an upcoming version of LTE called LTE-Advanced, and the next generation of WiMax known as IEEE 802.16m or WirelessMAN-Advanced. But both LTE and WiMax, unlike current cellular networks, are end-to-end IP networks. LTE, Wi-Max and HSPA networks advertise download speeds starting at 3M bps (bits per second) to 5M bps, further fueling the global mobile revolution.

HP ousts Hurd as boardroom soap opera continues

HP shocked the IT world at the beginning of August by announcing that CEO and Chairman Mark Hurd had resigned, following an investigation into claims that he sexually harassed a former contractor to the company. Hurd did not break HP's sexual harassment policy but he did violate standards of conduct in his expense report filings (reportedly for charges incurred while working with the female contractor in question). Hurd took the helm at HP after the board fired Carly Fiorina in 2005 for failing to capitalize on her acquisition of Compaq. Hurd led HP to edge out IBM as the world' largest IT company. Hurd had been delivering great results but apparently his slash-and burn methods of curbing costs made enemies. To replace Hurd, HP named Leo Apotheker, who had been forced out SAP in February after the ERP maker stumbled during its move to cloud technology. But supporters say Apotheker is a good choice to lead HP as it beefs up its software offerings in order to provide the one-stop-shop sort of services necessary to stay on top of competitors like IBM, Oracle and Dell.

Google in China: A geopolitical thriller

The saga of Google in China this year shows what can happen when the irresistible force of the Internet meets the immovable object of a paranoid state bureaucracy. Google in January declared that a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" on its infrastructure, coming from China and possibly involving employees, had resulted in some of its intellectual property being stolen. Google, which decided to stop censoring search results in China, said the December attack on its servers had targeted the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. In March, Google began automatically redirecting Internet traffic from its Chinese site to its site in Hong Kong, which provides uncensored search results. The move angered Chinese officials and threatened to derail the renewal of the company's operating license. To win over Chinese officials, rather than redirecting traffic automatically, Google decided to send visitors to a "landing page" with limited services, from where they can choose to click on a link leading to the Hong Kong site. The compromise resulted in the renewal of Google's license. Intellectual property rights and the battle over access to data, however, are issues that will no doubt continue to shade relations between Western companies and the Chinese government.


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