Top 10 tech stories of 2012: a busted IPO, spotlight on workers, titans in transition

Windows 8, the Foxconn riot, patent wars, HP's Autonomy accounting charge and the revolt against SOPA make top stories of the year

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

Oracle loses the Google API case, programmers breathe a sigh of relief

A district court judge in May ruled that the Java APIs (application programming interfaces) in Android are not eligible for protection under U.S. copyright law, handing Oracle a defeat in its lawsuit against Google. Oracle had acquired Java when it bought Sun Microsystems. The ruling means that programmers can create code that implements Java API functions as long as the code for the implementation is original. Programmers had voiced concern that a decision for Oracle would set a precedent that software APIs can be protected by copyright, making it much more difficult to create interoperable applications and fragmenting the market. Oracle is appealing the API ruling and meanwhile it suffered another big loss in court in August, when a California judge ordered that Oracle had to keep porting its software to Hewlett-Packard's Itanium platform, setting the stage for a jury trial next year over whether Oracle breached a contract with HP, and what damages it may need to pay.

AMD announces ARM license: birth of a new server platform and threat to Intel

With its announcement at the end of October that it would license a 64-bit processor design from ARM and sell server chips based on the architecture in 2014, Advanced Micro Devices tried to accomplish several things. Ending its exclusive commitment to the x86 architecture, it hopes to revive its slumping fortunes in the server market and mount a new threat to its giant archrival, Intel. AMD will produce a new line of power-efficient, system-on-chip Opteron processors for massive Web workloads. AMD came on strong with its 2003 introduction, ahead of Intel, of the first 64-bit x86 processors, and is aiming for goalposts again. The announcement came two weeks after AMD said that third-fiscal-quarter revenue dropped 25 year over year to $1.27 billion, resulting in a loss of $157 million. The company badly needs a hit.

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