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.

How great is Windows 8?

Industry watchers including analyst house Gartner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen were concerned by how the radically overhauled operating systems would go down with users.

Will Windows 8 end up being the new Windows 7 or - god forbid - the next Vista?Meanwhile, supply chain sources and Microsoft insiders expressed fears to IT Pro that its new live tile-centric Windows 8 interface and lack of Start screen could spook enterprise users, too.

At the moment, it's probably too early to say whether or not these fears were unfounded, although analyst house Context recently claimed sales of the software had got off to a promising start in Western Europe.

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Even so, time will tell if Windows 8 end ups being the next Windows 7 or god forbid the new Vista.

The ICO shows its teeth

That was until June this year, when the ICO hit Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust with its largest ever fine after details about the Trust's staff and patient were found on hard drives sold via an internet auction site.

The Trust was fined 325,000 for the breach, and in the process the ICO may have finally put paid to its critics, who in the past have described the organisation as a "toothless tiger".

The 4G wars heat up

The firm was granted permission by telecoms regulator Ofcom to reuse part of its 1800 MHz spectrum to offer the superfast network to customers in August. By the end of this year, it will have rolled the network out to 18 towns and cities in the UK.

Given that its competitors won't be able to launch their 4G networks until next year, when the Ofcom spectrum auction will take place, the regulator's decision to give EE a head start prompted threats of legal action and garnered it some unsporting comments from its rivals.

Tech jobs cuts

In May 2012, there were reports that hardware giant HP could be poised to axe 25,000 jobs, as the firm battles to reduce costs.

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This was followed in June by reports that beleaguered phone maker Nokia was cutting around 10,000 jobs and closing its Finnish plant, as consumers continued to shun its devices in favour of smartphones from the likes of Apple and Samsung.

Sony announced that it was cutting 2,000 staff in October, as part of a wider company restructure that is expected to see 10,000 jobs go by March 2013. And, Texas Instruments announced in November that it was winding down its mobile processor business resulting in 1,700 jobs being discontinued.

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