Top Tech Industry News Stories of 2011 -- So Far

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AT&T bids for T-Mobile USA. AT&T's proposed takeover of T-Mobile USA would create the biggest carrier in the United States, with some 129 million subscribers. The union also raises lots of big regulatory, competitive and customer service questions, with plenty of people unhappy about the prospects of this deal going down.

Japanese earthquake/tsunami. Beyond the devastating human tragedy that has been the world's main concern in the wake of Japan's earthquakes and tsunami disaster, the high tech industry has been impacted greatly as well. Taiwanese semiconductor suppliers face serious raw materials shortages from Japan and concerns have been raised about Japanese suppliers to Apple for the iPad 2 as well. Chip plants for Texas Instruments and others in Japan expect months of disruption and undersea telecom cables in the Pacific Ocean were damaged.

Browser makeover. Google, Microsoft and Mozilla all released significant new versions of their browsers. Google's Chrome 10 focuses on security, speed and simplicity, with greater JavaScript performance, sandboxing technology for Adobe Flash, password encryption and an easier-to-use settings interface. Microsoft IE9 also boasts speed, privacy and simplicity improvements, but with a stripped-down interface, tracking protection, pinned sites, jump lists and enhanced support for HTML5. Mozilla Firefox 4 got a speed boost and several feature enhancements that are so significant that they all have their own proper names, like Panorama, JaegerMonkey and Firefox Sync.

RSA at risk. EMC's RSA Security division shook the industry in March when its executive chairman announced that a sophisticated cyber-attack on the company might have compromised its two-factor SecurID tokens. The advanced persistent threat attack led some observers to call on those using the tokens for remote access to sensitive information to stop doing so until RSA clarified the extent of possible compromise.

Android Market feels malware pain. More than 50 applications containing malware were discovered in Google's application market, a sign that hackers were hard at work trying to compromise mobile devices running the Android OS. In fact, it got so bad that Google threw a "kill switch" to remotely delete infected Android apps.

Apple -- and Steve Jobs -- intro iPad 2. The next generation of Apple's iPad tablet computer is sleeker and more powerful than the original, and boasts two cameras so that users can use Apple's FaceTime video chat. CEO Steve Jobs surprised the faithful by making the iPad 2 product introduction himself. Here's a First Look at the tablet. The iPad 2 unveiling both excited and frustrated enterprise IT pros.


Nokia embraces WP7. Microsoft and Nokia both have a lot to lose -- and gain -- by their mobile alliance, with the Finnish handset maker deciding to adopt Windows Phone 7 as its smartphone operating system. Nokia won't abandon its own platforms, Symbian and MeeGo, yet. The company still plans to put out a "MeeGo-related" product later this year and "expects to sell 150 million more Symbian devices in the years to come," it said.

Obama 4G. President Obama aired a proposal for bringing 4G wireless broadband service to 98% of the United States within 5 years. The plan, which would involve freeing up 500MHz of wireless spectrum over a decade, is expected to meet with plenty of questions from lawmakers and industry reps.

Mourning Olsen. Kenneth Olsen, the co-founder and longtime CEO of Digital Equipment Corp., passed away at the age of 84 on Feb. 6. He was remembered for his scientific focus and his epic battles vs. IBM and others as DEC rose to become the No.2 computer maker in the world before eventually succumbing to competition and being acquired by Compaq.

Bring on IPv6. The Internet ran out of IPv4 address space in early February when the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority assigned two of the remaining blocks of IPv4 addresses - each containing 16.7 million addresses - to the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre. This action sparked an immediate distribution of the remaining five blocks of IPv4 address space, with one block going to each of the five Regional Internet Registries. Now that IPv4 addresses are gone, Internet policy makers will be ratcheting up the pressure on network operators to migrate quickly to IPv6.

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