2012 Year in Review: Tech news round-up

We take a look back at the news year in tech, which was dominated by industry in-fighting, job cuts, and questionable new products.

While much of the tech industry talk of 2012 focused on cloud, big data, and bring your own device, it was the oh-so-familiar tales of vendor spats, product hype and accusations of foul play that made headlines this year.

Industry big hitters HP, Apple and Microsoft have all clocked up their fair share of column inches in 2012, for – respectively – accusing allies of financial impropriety and for (allegedly) confusing users with new product releases.

Apple Maps turned out to be something of a damp squib.

Meanwhile, the investigation into whether or not Google invaded people’s privacy during its Street View project was reopened, while other tech giants faced the unenviable task of having to cut jobs to give themselves a fighting chance of lasting the course to 2013.

And that’s just for starters. Join us as we take a look back over the 12 biggest tech stories of 2012 and let us know in the comments box if you agree with our selections.

HP vs. Autonomy

When HP finally acquired Cambridge-based software house Autonomy for a cool £7.7 billion in October 2011, industry watchers wondered if the hardware giant may have paid too much for its new purchase.

It appears that HP may have spent some of the past year asking itself the same question, because – in November 2012 – the company publicly accused Autonomy's former management team of “financial improprieties” that may have led to its asking price becoming artificially inflated.

The hardware giant announced that it had been forced to swallow a $5 billion writedown to cover the cost of these alleged financial irregularities.

Unsurprisingly, Autonomy’s former management team haven’t taken too kindly to HP’s assertions, and questions have been raised over how closely the company’s books were looked over during the due diligence stage of the deal.

HP CEO Meg Whitman recently admitted the probe was likely to be a “multi-year” operation, which means this looks set to be a story tech journos will be dining out on well into 2013.

Apple loses way with Maps

There’s clearly not much love lost between Apple and Google, but with Google Maps and YouTube being among the average web user’s most popular places to go on the internet, the Cupertino giant has always made some concessions towards its arch-rival.

Until earlier this year that is, when it emerged that the YouTube app would not come pre-installed on iOS 6-powered devices and Google Maps would be replaced by Apple’s new navigation software.

Sadly, the software Apple decided to replace the Google offering with, Maps, turned out to be something of a damp squib when it finally made its debut in September on the iPhone 5, with users complaining about mapping errors and out of date listings.

IT Pro was inundated with requests from readers for information about how to reinstate the software on iOS 6, and Apple CEO Tim Cook was forced to apologise for the state of Maps, insisting that it would improve with time.

In the meantime, Google Maps recently became available to download via the Apple App Store, meaning users shouldn’t have too much trouble finding their way from now on.