The 100 Best Products of 2006

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Companies of the Year

Web Company of the Year

Yahoo has progressed far beyond being a mere search engine; it has emerged as the number-one online developer, on the strength of great revamps of Yahoo Mail (#30) and Yahoo Maps (#56), smart acquisitions of Web stars such as Del.icio.us (#93) and Flickr (#78), and development of the Yahoo 360 personalized Web spaces and of the Yahoo Music Engine (#73). Google may get a lot more attention, but Yahoo has been getting more things accomplished.

Hardware Company of the Year

With a huge RD budget and a single-minded despot running the show, Apple once again introduced products that made everyone else look bad. iPods (#36) that play video have created a new market for reruns, Core Duo-based Macs (#35) have expanded the market for Intel chips, and Boot Camp software (#10) has opened the door to running Windows on the Mac hardware. We continue to hope that some of the Cupertino crowd's design ideas will trickle down to the rest of the tech industry.

Software Company of the Year

In the 1990s, Adobe was known for its professional software; its dumbed-down consumer products didn't fare so well. Now, however, the company makes stellar $100 apps that regular folks can use--for example, Premiere Elements 2 (#7) and Photoshop Elements 4 (#11)--while continuing to improve its pro applications. How can Adobe afford to sell an app with 90 percent of Photoshop's power for only 10 percent of its price? Volume, volume, volume.

Worst Company of the Year

We get the feeling that Sony doesn't trust people. Many of its ills over the past year involve copy protection: First was the fiasco with its music CDs, which installed rootkits on PCs to hide digital rights management spyware, thereby exposing the computers to viruses. Then came delays in the delivery of Blu-ray drives due to difficulties implementing a second copy protection scheme. And as a result of the Blu-ray problems, Sony had to push back its PlayStation 3 console to November. All this from the company that virtually pioneered copying with the Betamax.

The 100 Best Products of 2006

At a Glance
  • Citrix GoToMyPC 5

  • Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8.0 Preferred

  • Best Software Simply Accounting 2005

  • Vonage VoIP

  • Adobe Photoshop CS2 (Full Product, PC)

  • Intuit Quicken Premier 2006

  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro

  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 4

  • Nero 7 Ultra Edition

  • Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 (PC)

  • Palm GPS Navigator (3207NA)

  • Serious Magic Ovation

  • Microsoft Xbox 360 System

  • NEC 21.3" MultiSync LCD2180WG-LED-BK-SV Black LCD Monitor (21.3", 1600x1200, 25ms, DVI, PC/Mac)

  • Yamaha RX-V4600 Receiver (7.1 Channels, 130 W/Channel, 0.04% THD, Supports 10 Devices)

  • Apple IPod Video 5th Generation 60GB MP3 Player - Black (60GB Internal Hard Drive)

  • Webroot Spy Sweeper 4.5

  • Ultimate Ears super.fi 5 Pro

  • Intel Core Duo Processor (2.16GHz, 2MB, 667GHz FSB, Socket 478)

  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Dual-Core Processor (2.4GHz, 2MB, 2GHz Bus, Socket 939)

  • Seagate Portable ST9160821U2-RK External 160GB Hard Drive

  • Toshiba HDA1 HD-DVD Player

  • eVGA GeForce 7600 GT Video Card (256MB, PCI Express x16, Dual DVI)

  • RedOctane Guitar Hero Bundle (PS2)

  • Pioneer Blu-Ray Disc Writer (2x/2x/2x BD, 8x/4x/8x DVD+RW, 8x/4x/8x DVD-RW, 2.4x DVD+R DL, 2x DVD-R DL)

  • Mionet

  • TiVo ? Series2? 80-Hour Digital Video Recorder (80 GB)

  • Western Digital Raptor X 150GB Hard Drive (Serial ATA-150, 10,000 RPM, 16MB)

  • EIZO Nanao FlexScan S2410W 24.1" LCD Monitor (24.1" 1920x1200, 16ms, DVI, PC/Mac)

  • SmartHome SYLVANIA Z-WAVE DELUXE STARTER KIT BY UNICAL ENTERPRISES

  • Salling Software Salling Clicker 3

  • Mindjet MindManager Pro 6 with Media - 1-User License

  • iRiver Clix

  • BFG Technologies GeForce 7900 GTX OC Video Card (512MB, PCI Express x16, Dual DVI)

  • Channel Sources Dist. ThinkFree Office (Full Product)

  • NewsGator FeedDemon 2

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