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The 10 biggest technology stories of 2009

From Windows 7 to Twitter, what hit the headlines

The recession was the biggest news of 2009, but as far as technology was concerned there was a number of stories that hit the headlines, many with a much happier note. From Twitter to Windows 7, we've put together a list of this year's biggest tech stories.

The recession was the biggest news of 2009, but as far as technology was concerned there was a number of stories that hit the headlines, many with a much happier note.

Acquisitions among big vendors continued to reshape the market, operating-system wars extended to mobile battlefields, microblogging became a powerful source of real-time information, and the take-up of small, net-connected devices was stronger than ever.

Here, in no particular order, is our pick of the top 10 technology stories of 2009.

Oracle (tries) to buy Sun: The big get bigger

Oracle's April deal to buy Sun Microsystems for $7.4bn, reportedly outbidding IBM, has the potential to reshape the tech industry.

It's also a denouement for Sun, whose prescient "the network is the computer" tagline has been overshadowed by mounting losses as users take up commodity servers.

In money terms the acquisition is smaller than HP's May acquisition of services giant EDS for $13.9bn, but could be more of a game-changer because it gets one of the biggest software companies on the planet into the hardware game, zeroing in on the data centre.

Major players are trying to emulate IBM's 'one-stop shop' for software, hardware and services.

Other notable acquisitions this year included HP's November deal to buy networking company 3Com for $2.7bn and Xerox's September agreement to acquire services company ACS for $6.4bn.

The story is not over, though. The European Union is threatening to block the Sun deal, out of fear that Oracle could quash the budding open-source database market by crippling Sun's MySQL.

Microsoft launches Windows 7 - we can all move on now

On October 22, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage in downtown New York at the lead event for a somewhat - for the software giant - soft-edged launch for Windows 7.

Ballmer presided over a day of speechmaking and sales promotions in cities worldwide. But the events were on the whole smaller than the usual major Microsoft launches.

The scaled-back hoopla and the marketing mantra of 'simplicity' fit Microsoft's characterisation of the new OS - above all, faster and more straightforward to use than its predecessor, Vista.

That much-maligned OS was plagued by hardware compatibility problems, slow performance and annoying system alerts.

The older Windows XP, as of the Win 7 launch, was still being used by more than 70 percent of computer users.

Microsoft, no doubt happy to turn the page on an embarrassing chapter in its history, says Win 7 is being adopted faster than Vista.

NEXT PAGE: Chrome OS and Yahoo and Microsoft's deal

  1. From Windows 7 to Twitter, we look at what hit the headlines
  2. Chrome OS and Yahoo and Microsoft's deal
  3. Jobs is back, Twitter and the antitrust war
  4. Motorola Milestone and IT survives the recession

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