YEAR IN REVIEW: December 2010

December saw the introduction of a new PC operating system, as Google officially kicked a pilot program for its new Google Chrome OS. The company started shipping unbranded laptops equipped with the new cloud-based OS to business and consumers in the U.S.

Following the launch, industry observers were particularly surprised with Google’s emphasis on the enterprise market in its pilot pitch.

One tech blogger said that Google’s overall enterprise strategy appears to be anchored by Chrome OS-powered machines. “The vision is thousands of low-cost boxes in the enterprise running Chrome OS, accessing enterprise data and apps in the cloud, where everything centrally updated and controlled,” wrote Search Engine Land blogger Greg Sterling.

Another big story in December was the continuation of the WikiLeaks saga.

The organization’s chief spokesperson Julian Assange was arrested by U.K. police after he turned himself in to authorities. He was charged with one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape related to incidents with two women in Sweden earlier this year.

Before being released from jail to await trial, online activists in support of Assange began initiating distributed denial of service botnet attacks of a variety of companies. The hackers targeted MasterCard, Visa, Amazon, PayPal and other organizations which cut services to WikiLeaks.

Microsoft made news in the tablet space throughout the month.

First, reports came out that the company was expected to offer a first look at Windows 8 OS on a tablet at next year’s Consumer Electronics Show. But several days later, another report surfaced that indicated the company might actually launch a tablet version of Windows at the show.

With a handful of new wireless entrants already making a splash in the telecom industry, the lobbying continued to heat up over the next 700 MHz spectrum auction. Industry Canada sent a long-awaited discussion paper to carriers, asking for written comments on a number of the auction’s technical issues by the end of February.

And in the smart phone world, EMC’s RSA security division announced that it was releasing software that lets enterprise workers use their Android-based phones to authenticate themselves on other business apps. The two-factor authentication technology was previously available on Apple-based devices only.

In Toronto, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist said that continuing to review and improve Canada’s Personal Information Protection Electronics Document Act can give the country a competitive advantage in becoming a cloud service leader.

Major acquisitions this month included Juniper Networks acquiring virtualization security firm Altor Networks for US$95 million and Dell dishing out US$960 million for virtualized storage vendor Compellent Technologies. Avaya also dished out some coin in December by announcing a promise to invest $165 million over three years into various Ontario research and development labs.

Related to the data centre space, managed service firm Peer 1 Hosting proclaimed 2011 as the year supercomputing tasks begin moving off-site to hosting providers. The company also hyped its cloud-based graphical processing units, which it made available at its newly opened Toronto hosting facility earlier in the year.

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