YEAR IN REVIEW: February 2009

In February, U.S. President Obama made a lofty promise of Web connectivity to all Americans by making “laying broadband” one of the main priorities in a stimulus package recently passed by Congress. Specifically, US$7.2 billion was allotted to tech companies, telcos and internet service providers (ISPs) to compete for broadband grants given out by two government agencies.

Closer to home, a coalition including Google, Amazon and Skype made a submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) demanding carriers and ISPs be banned from traffic-shaping. The submission joined others in response to the CRTC’s request for comments in advance of a July investigation into internet traffic management practices and their impact on subscribers.  

Federal public safety minister Peter Van Loan confirmed a controversial initiative to write new laws that will let police eavesdrop on internet exchanges like e-mail and chatroom conversations. 

Microsoft launched a lawsuit against Linux-based TomTom, maker of automobile navigation software, citing eight patent violations after unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a licensing of its technology for a fee. 

Nortel announced 3,200 layoffs would occur in the pursuing months since entering bankruptcy protection in January. The company already let go 1,800 late 2008. 

After Research In Motion pulled its original bid for Certicom Corp. in January, the company placed a new bid, doubling the value of the first, causing VeriSign to bow out. 

TPG Technology Consulting, one of seven Ottawa companies charged with bid-rigging federal government IT contracts, fires back by saying it’s really about pressuring the IT firm to drop a $250-million lawsuit against federal government and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). 

Companies continued to push tools and services to help customers manage infrastructure resources in the cloud, including IBM and Savvis with separate cloud management tools. Numerous partnerships like the one that made IBM software available on-demand via Amazon’s EC2. Another let DataSynapse customers bridge traditional data centre resources with Amazon EC2. 

Juniper Networks revealed Stratus Project, a converged data centre fabric in collaboration with other companies, that will compete with Cisco’s solo data centre strategy.  

High Tech Computer (HTC) attempted to woo mobile users with Touch Pro2, designed to rival Apple’s iPhone 3G. Not to be upstaged, Microsoft Corp., acknowledging influence from the iPhone, unveiled its Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system with touch-friendly features and faster navigation.  

Facebook changed its terms of use after complaints that previous language appeared to give the company control over data that was ever posted to the social networking site.  

The evil masterminds behind Conficker, the worm that infected an estimated 10 million machines, released a new variant dubbed Conficker B++ that uses new techniques to download software.  

Sun Microsystems made available JavaFX Mobile in full release, a development platform for building Rich Internet Applications across mobile devices.  

SAP released version 7.0 of its SAP Business Suite, a library of business process templates designed to take the headache out of monolithic deployments like enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and supply chain management. 

Microsoft discontinues PerformancePoint, a business intelligence product, unable to keep up in tough times. 

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