Tech's worst year ever?

By , Network World |  Hardware, economy, EMC

It has been a year since Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, igniting a Wall Street meltdown that plunged the United States into its worst recession in more than 70 years.

[ Read what tech sector CEOs were saying last year about the economic times. ]

Although the tech industry was one of the last industry segments to get dragged down by the global economic crisis, it has suffered some of its greatest losses ever in the past 12 months. Here's our look at the low points. Read it and weep.

No happy holidays for Intel

Intel was among the first U.S. tech companies to feel the immediate impact of the global economic crisis. The company's fourth quarter 2008 sales plummeted 23% to $8.2 billion compared with a year earlier – only the second time in 20 years that the company reported a drop in sales. The recent sales decline was much sharper than the 1% dip Intel experienced in the fourth quarter of 2001. Even worse: Intel's profits fell 90%

No more Nortel

On Jan. 14, Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States, Europe and its native Canada. On June 19, the largest North American maker of telecom gear announced it would sell all of its assets. The economic downturn was the final nail in the coffin for Nortel, which failed to exploit the IP router market as well as its rivals Cisco and Juniper. Nortel also never recovered from an accounting scandal in 2004.

Nasdaq's six-year low

On March 9, the Nasdaq Composite dropped to 1268.64, the stock index's lowest performance in six years. With its heavy weighting toward tech stocks, the Nasdaq Composite fared better than its non-techie rivals, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which reached a 12-year low, and the Standard & Poor's 500, which reached a 13-year low.

Microsoft posts first quarterly loss

Tech industry bellwether Microsoft on April 23 reported its first quarterly loss in 23 years as a public company. Microsoft reported a net loss of $388 million on revenue of $13.6 billion for the first three months of 2009. The results represented a 6% decline in revenue from the same quarter a year earlier.

Venture financing hits 12-year low

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