Microsoft Vista and Mac OSX 10.5 (Leopard) were released to the world this year - along with more funny Mac vs. Vista ads. Apple still seems avoid marketing to business, even though VMware and Parallels both released virtualization software that allows Macs to run Windows concurrently.
Apple's iPhone went on sale with a media frenzy and people waited outside for hours to get their hands on one. A little over a month later Apple decided to do away with the 4 gig iPhone and lower the price of the 8 gig iPhone, and issued $100 store credits after loyalists cried foul. For the record, my $100 credit is collecting dust. I was planning to use it to buy an iTunes card, but that is apparently against the rules.
Linux - Nothing to write here since nothing of note happened this year. Not much ground was gained here at all. It's still an operating system for the uber geek.
Michael Dell returned to become the CEO of the company he once started. Dell had been losing market share to HP, IBM, and even Apple. Time to get back to basics at Dell.
The OLPC laptop finally became a real product. This is a laptop geared for developing countries. It was supposed to be the $100 laptop, but became the $200 laptop instead.
Google announced their Android software for mobile phones. The software is designed to operate cell phones and will allow software to be written and installed on devices. Google is also a bidder for the 700 mhz radio spectrum, the same radio spectrum used by analog TV channels (you know..the rabbit ears on your TV). Analog TV is going to the age of the dinosaur in 2009 and if Google wins the spectrum from the FCC they will be able to build out their own cellular network, or simply end up licensing it to one of the existing carriers.
The final nail in the coffin was hammered into CompUSA. They are finally shutting down all their stores, joining Computer City in the world of failed computer hardware stores.
Verizon Wireless announced that they will be "opening their network" so that customers can purchase cell phones from sources other than Verizon Wireless dealers. This is called "Bring Your Own", giving new meaning to BYO. Verizon Wireless uses handsets on the CDMA network, the same network as Sprint. Conceivably, Sprint cell phone users will be able to reprogram their cell phone to work on the Verizon Wireless network. Can't wait to see the 100 steps it will take to make this happen. It is good news for handset makers like Nokia, Samsung, LG, Motorola, and others. They can now sell their CDMA handsets directly to consumers.
Nokia acquired Navteq, the GPS mapping company. Navteq provides mapping software for virtually every GPS device on the planet. Excellent move on Nokia's part. GPS is becoming a more integral part of cell phones and PDAs these days.