The past year sure didn't seem like it was dominated by Google and Apple news. We followed hundreds of stories in 2011, and the vast majority of them had neither Google nor Apple in their headlines.
But now, as we survey the stories that captured Gadget Lab's attention the most, it's clear the highest-impact events swirled around the two California mega-companies in Mountain View and Cupertino. With market-swaying power that would seem to rival that of full-fledged nation states, Google and Apple have an ability to influence news cycles unlike any other tech companies.
So, yes, AppGoo -- or should that be Goople? -- have formed a high-impact nexus of newsworthiness. But that doesn't mean other companies haven't snuck into our list of the most important tech news stories of 2011. If only for nefarious reasons.
Enjoy our list, and if we missed any important news stories, let us know in the comments section of this article.
Though its violation wasn’t revealed to the outside world for three days, Sony’s PlayStation Network was compromised on April 20 by what the company called an “illegal intrusion.” At risk: the account details, passwords, and credit card information of some 77 million users.
Sony later confirmed that user email addresses and birth dates were stolen, and stated in a blog post, “While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility.”
So who did it? Our own Threat Level blog handicapped possible culprits, including the merry pranksters of Anonymous, Chinese hackers, “recreational” hackers, and for-profit cyber thieves.
Congress launched an inquiry into the hack, spurring Sony to release more details about what happened. Most interesting: According to Sony, the hackers planted a file named “Anonymous” that included the tagline “We are Legion” on Sony’s servers. Anonymous spokesman Barret Brown then denied any involvement by Anonymous -- a highly decentralized group with no real leader -- in a Guardian op-ed piece.
Bottom line: Whoever pulled off the Sony network intrusion earns twisted kudos for pulling off the Hack of the Year.