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Mergers, tablets and trust

News on the technology front over the past year has been thin, reflecting the belt-tightening and consolidation prevalent in the...

News on the technology front over the past year has been thin, reflecting the belt-tightening and consolidation prevalent in the market since 200l.

Microsoft kicked off the year with the announcement of the controversial Trusted Computing initiative. Officially this was billed as an IT industry initiative to redesign PC architecture in a bid to improve security. Critics claimed the move could further tie in PC users to Microsoft and also raised privacy concerns.

An edict from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates stalled product development while potential security vulnerabilities were eradicated. This resulted in the late delivery of a number of key projects, primarily the expected 2002 arrival of Windows .net Server 2003, now scheduled for April next year.

But all this was overshadowed in August when Microsoft introduced its controversial new software licensing programme - a move which raised software costs for some users by more than 100%.

In November, Microsoft and a clutch of hardware partners launched the Tablet PC but this did not meet with the acclaim expected.

In the chip world, Intel launched the 64-bit Itanium 2 processor, formerly known as McKinley. The July launch increased the interest in Intel's move to higher grade computing but potential customers are still biding their time while the chip proves its reliability against a backdrop of mature chips.

Hewlett-Packard and IBM both spent billions of pounds with two of the biggest IT acquisitions of the year.

HP completed its merger with Compaq in June, swallowing the market-leading Proliant PC server family, the iPaq handheld, the Deskpro desktop computer division and a range of storage products.

Arguably the real gem for HP is Compaq's services business. HP had been looking to build a services business to rival IBM Global Services, which was boosted buy IBM's acquisition of PwC Consulting this year.

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