Top 10 Internet Stories of 2008
From Microsoft's unsuccessful march on search engine rival Yahoo to the emergence of the Google Android-based G1 smartphone from T-Mobile and Google's launch of Chrome, 2008 proved to be an exciting, if not tense, year for Internet happenings, strategies and products. What will 2009 hold for the Internet as Web 2.0 slides closer to Web 3.0?
1. Microsoft Bids for Yahoo
In high tech's biggest story of the year, Microsoft Jan. 31 offered to buy the struggling Yahoo for $44.6 billion. The deal would give Microsoft the No. 2 position in search and enable it to challenge Google on the Internet. Yahoo declined the offer Feb. 11, triggering a mass of meetings and a contentious war of words. And Carl Icahn got involved.
2. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Threatens Yahoo
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer lowered the boom on Yahoo April 5, telling the company that if the two companies couldn't come to a decision regarding Microsoft's $31-per-share purchase offer within three weeks, Microsoft would take its offer directly to Yahoo's shareholders.
3. Google Introduces App Engine
Google April 7 launched the test version of Google App Engine, a tool designed to let programmers build Web applications on top of Google's infrastructure. The tool, launched at a developer event on the company's Mountain View, Calif., campus, is an alternative to cloud computing infrastructure from Amazon Web Services.
4. Yahoo Introduces Yahoo Open Strategy
Yahoo April 24 introduced YOS (Yahoo Open Strategy), the company's plan to make its portal a social network. Yahoo's plan was to let programmers write applications for Yahoo's mail, sports, search, front page and mobile platforms that will jazz up the user experience for the portal's 500 million-plus users. Yahoo would later roll out its SearchMonkey and Yahoo Mail as open platforms.
5. Google Pumps $500M into Clearwire WiMax
The next step in Google's ambitious wireless strategy became clear May 7 as the search giant agreed to sink $500 million into the revitalization of struggling wireless Internet provider Clearwire. Google is looking for support for its Android mobile operating system.
6. Google, Yahoo Strike Search Advertising Deal
Google and Yahoo June 12 confirmed a nonexclusive deal to run Google's search and contextual advertising technology through its AdSense for Search and AdSense for Content advertising programs on the Yahoo search engine. The agreement came just hours after Yahoo proclaimed dead its negotiations with Microsoft to sell its search business or do some other deal.
7. Google Launches Chrome Web browser
Google launched Chrome Sept. 1 as a "modern platform for Web pages and applications." The engineers said the browser needs to be stable, fast, secure, clean, easy to use and open source. To achieve these goals, Chrome has multiple processes to render multiple tabs, so that even though one tab is busy, or crashes, the rest are free to work for you.
8. Google, T-Mobile Launch G1 Android Smartphone
Google, T-Mobile and other partners took the stage in New York Sept. 23 to unveil the T-Mobile G1 smartphone, the first Android mobile operating system-based device. The G1 boasts a touch-screen, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a trackball to give users the most accessibility possible while searching Web content from a mobile device.
9. Google Bails on Yahoo Search Deal
Google announced Nov. 5 that it was ending its proposed search ad deal with Yahoo, which would have included Yahoo running Google's keyword search terms alongside its results. This was a major blow for Yahoo, whose CEO Jerry Yang would step down less than two weeks later.
10. Microsoft Hires Qi Lu
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Dec. 4 announced his decision to hire search ad expert Qi Lu from Yahoo to run the Microsoft Online Services division. Is the move a death knoll for Yahoo, or a precursor to Microsoft making another run at Yahoo? Time will tell.