Microsoft's Yahoo Bid, Mobile Is New PC, Chip Advances

By eWEEK Staff  |  Posted 2008-12-12 Print this article Print

3. Microsoft Bids for Yahoo

Sources have spoken of private acquisition talks between Microsoft and Yahoo as early as 2005, but the private conversation became very public Jan. 31, when Microsoft made an unsolicited offer to take over Yahoo for $44.6 billion. The saga made for a corporate spectacle involving boardrooms, share prices, investment circles, a proxy battle by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, an unexpected deal with Google, antitrust suits, the Department of Justice and, ultimately, the ouster of Yahoo founder and CEO Jerry Yang.

But, from the beginning, the battle was about Google and Internet search traffic. The deal would have given Microsoft the No. 2 position in search and enabled it to challenge Google on the Internet.

 The bid for Yahoo has been characterized as Microsoft's attempt to catch up to Google's Web presence overnight. Indeed, as end users' interaction with the PC moves from the desktop to the Web and even IT infrastructure moves to the cloud, Microsoft knows its lagging online presence will be a stumbling point-especially in the realm of search, fast becoming the central PC function for the majority of end users and the engine for so many other applications.

4. Mobile Is the New PC

Hardly a month went by in 2008 without a new phone to go gaga over. BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Storm, the G1 "Google phone," the Nokia N97, and, of course, the iPhone 3G-each sleeker and more savvy than the last. However, the enterprise news wasn't the form factors but the hot-rod engine running the phones-the operating system.

2008 marks the year the smartphone came of age, leaving behind the reputation of its youth as an e-mail machine. RIM's BlackBerry remains the king of enterprise smartphones, and e-mail remains the king of enterprise smartphone applications. But the devices unveiled in 2008 are evidence that the smartphone is now a viable computing platform.

For eWEEK Labs' walk-through of BlackBerry Storm, click here. 

In addition, the rise of devices from Apple, Google and Nokia is evidence that users are ready to do more with their phones than read funny forwards.

The mobile device now stands to compete with the PC as the system of choice for many functions, with developers scrambling to build enterprise widgets and apps for the new platforms. With the emergence of the cloud as a computing infrastructure and the smartphone as a user platform, how long does the desktop have?

5. Chips Grow Older, Wiser, Faster, Cooler

No one buys a microprocessor; you buy what it does for the machine in which it runs. In 2008, processors got older and wiser, faster and cooler.

In keeping with its goal to deliver a new microarchitecture every two years, Intel delivered its Nehalem as promised at the Intel Developer Forum in August, with the first chips based on that architecture-the Intel Core i7 platform-rolled out in November. Nehalem makes several significant changes, but the one that will have the most impact is the integrated memory controller, which will eliminate the front-side bus and increase performance without increasing clock speed.

AMD kept pace, launching in November its 45-nanometer Opteron processor, "Shanghai," which looks to erase the problems associated with the 65-nm version of the chip. Shanghai impressed users and OEMs worried about tight budgets, as it will be compatible with the current group of Opteron chips.



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