December 26, 2012, 10:08 PM — Dog years may snag all the metaphors, but canine aging doesn't blaze by nearly as fast as the news cycle in the technology world. With 2012 drawing to a close, it's hard to parse the flood of major stories that have taken place since Labor Day alone, much less during the whole 12 months.
Singling out the 10 most significant news stories of 2012 was no easy task--but we did it nonetheless. And did we leave something out? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Windows 8 makes its debut
The biggest news this year was, of course, the release of Windows 8, which brought renewed energy to the PC ecosystem, along with more than its fair share of controversy--not the least of which was Microsoft's matter to take hardware matters into its own hands with the launch of its self-made Surface tablet.
The move represented a new willingness on the part of the software giant to compete directly with the OEMs that have traditionally been Microsoft's closest allies. Fears from Microsoft's OEM partners seem to be playing out, with the Surface RT snagging the lion's share of the (lackluster) early Windows RT tablet market. The Surface doesn't look to be a one-off excursion for Microsoft, either. The company's latest shareholder letter makes explicit that hardware is going to be a part of Microsoft's future, for better or for worse.
On the software side of things, Windows 8 divided reviewers and users alike with substantial changes to the user interface and a new focus on touch-enabled devices--a far cry from the near-rapturous reception Windows 7 received three years earlier. While Microsoft triumphantly claimed that it's sold more than 40 million Windows 8 licenses thus far, that number includes sales to corporations and OEM manufacturers, and it's not yet clear how well the operating system is selling in stores . Early reports indicate that it's missed Microsoft's internal projections and that it hasn't done much to boost hardware sales, though browser usage indicates that Windows 8 is at least beating the lackluster adoption pace set by Windows Vista.