A group of major IT companies — including RIM, Microsoft and Apple — circle the waters for pieces of Nortel Network Corp; Microsoft retires Office XP and Vista SP1; Oracle releases Java update after five long years

Year in review: July 2011

At the beginning of July, Research in Motion Ltd. joined a consortium of high-powered bidders keen on preventing arch-rival Google from getting any of the spoils at a Nortel Network Corp. auction. RIM’s take was a $770 million share of the winning bid.

The next day, Microsoft Corp. announced that Office XP and Vista SP1 would be retired starting July 12. Office XP users would still be able to receive updates by upgrading to SP2. 

Cisco promoted its wireless networking technology at Ottawa’s Bluesfest, a 12-day event it sponsors that draws in hundreds of thousands of people. The company provided a free public Wi-Fi network across the festival grounds.

Twitter bought San Francisco-based social analytics firm BackType, a business started in 2008 by two University of Toronto students, Chris Golda and Mike Montano. The company aimed to help clients track brand recognition on social media

After the scramble for pieces of Nortel Networks, the federal government put the auction under the magnifying glass. Under Canadian law, the deal could be blocked if it didn’t show a “net benefit” for Canada, the government said.

We then saw Facebook add a fresh layer of functionality with a new Skype plugin that allows video chat—for now, one-on-one. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg claims that Facebook has grown to 750 million users.  

In a major row between Apple Inc. and Amazon over the latter’s alleged trademark infringement, a U.S. judge came down on Amazon’s side. Despite the similarity of Amazon’s “Appstore” to Apple’s “App Store,” the court ruled that Apple could not claim exclusive ownership over the name.

Rogers Communications Inc. came first in the race to put a Long Term Evolution network on Canadian soil, launching service in the greater Ottawa area and planning more for other cities. Hot on their competitor’s heels, Telus Corp. and BCE Inc. subsequently announce their own plans for developing LTE technology.

The same day, Starbucks started a trial run of its MicroStrategy 9.2.1 business intelligence software on tablets, something its executives had been pushing for. The software provides direct access to current data, said Starbucks, on a more convenient device.

Meanwhile, investors in SAP Inc. got a boost of confidence when the company decided to extend the terms of its co-CEOs Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott. The move showed SAP’s desire to project long-term confidence and stability.

Cisco Systems Inc. tried to offer a solution to the problem of video hogging bandwidth on networks with its Enterprise Content Delivery System (ECDS), software intended to make video delivery more efficient. Key elements of ECDS are Cisco’s WAAS application acceleration software and its caching ability.

RIM continued its tailspin as COO Don Morrison retires and the company lays off 2,000 employees, equivalent to 10 per cent of its global workforce.

After five years, Java finally gets updated. Oracle announces the release of SE 7, which incorporates important technology advances. 

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