The 2014 News Roundup

2014 Tech in a thousand words or less.


Heartbleed, Shell Shock, Regin, backdoors, iCloud leaks, endless hacks and data breaches. Security is such a boring IT topic, yet every year it’s a major part of tech news.


Just because you’re rich and your company is successful doesn’t mean you have to be a dick to any press person who doesn’t worship at your feet. Tinder’s sexual harassment case was also a low point. These upstart apps should make sure they’ve got it together.


2014 saw dozens of tech companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google and more reveal their 2014 diversity figures. The results were pretty unanimous; Silicon Valley is made up of white dudes. Not surprising, but at least now the stereotypes are based on fact.

Apple & Facebook: consumer tech at work

When not conducting social experiments on users’ news feeds or unbundling features into separate apps or trying to give Africans internet access, Facebook is trying to encroach itself into the enterprise space. “Facebook at Work” is rumoured to mix LinkedIn with Google-like collaboration features, but much of the response so far has been lacking enthusiasm.

Also eyeing the enterprise big bucks is Apple. Announcing its new partnership with IBM earlier in the year, hopes are high that iOS will finally be enterprise friendly and mix with big blue’s Cloud and Big Data capabilities. It’ll be interesting to see which company does better in the enterprise over the next 12 months.

IPOs, M&As and breakups

Facebook bought WhatsApp for untold billions, Microsoft bought Minecraft-creator Mojang, SAP acquired Concur, Amazon enraged gamers by snapping up Twitch, Google embraced smarthome companies, Apple made Dre a billionnaire. The big companies are getting bigger and it seems like many of the small companies are just waiting to be acquired.

HP and Symantec are splitting their companies, Intel reshuffled its chip and mobile divisions, IBM palmed off its server business. The big companies continued to struggle in an ever-changing world. Expect more in the coming year.

Nokia’s name has had a tough year. Microsoft had all but erased the company’s name from its product line before the division it didn’t buy released a new Android tablet and software. With ex-Nokia alumni making waves with the likes of Jolla and Thingsee, it seems the veteran company of mobiles might be ok in the long run.

Alibaba’s IPO was a record breaker. Box’s is still in the ether somewhere. Hortonworks just announced its IPO. 2014 saw rumours of a tech bubble rear its ugly head, expect more of the same in 2015.


After literally years of trying, Microsoft is finally starting to convince people to move on from Windows XP. The decade-old OS has seen its market share drop slowly since its End-of-Life earlier in the year, with Windows 8 making noticeable gains. Only Windows 7 and Server 2003 for the company to worry about then.

NSA fallout continues

Nary a week has gone by without some major NSA-related headline. These days it’s less about the original leaks - although the discovery of the Regin bug was a surprise – and more about what happens next. Will there be real reform of the NSA or GCHQ? Will the laws be even stricter under the rouse of terrorist threats? How involved were the tech companies in what was going on?

Wearable Tech

Apple finally dropped a smartwatch. After so much hype the results could only be disappointing, but it’ll surely be a big hit when it reaches the shelves. Never mind that every tech company and its dog has released a smartwatch already.

Google Glass meanwhile has been dragged through the mud. App developers are abandoning projects, analysts are labelling them socially unacceptable, they’ve been banned from various public spaces, and possibly most telling of all, the consumer release date has been pushed back to sometime in 2015. The company’s CardBoard VR specs were much more fun though.

Bitcoin ups and downs

Its value might have dropped from over $1,000 to around $400, but that hasn’t stopped cryptocurrencies gaining some mainstream acceptance. Bitcoin ATMs number in the hundreds globally, while the volume of hip outlets accepting BTCs has shot up through the year and even helped the Jamaican bobsled team. Various tiny nations want to be the first proper “Bitcoin Island” but none of them have taken off yet.

There was a real debacle earlier in the year after Newsweek claimed it found the creator of Bitcoin, only to be horribly mistaken and instead finding a 64-year-old man from Japan living in California “with a penchant for collecting model trains.”

Drones & access

For the ambitious corners of big tech firms, it’s all about “the next billion” getting online. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg founded and has been pushing various free services out to Africa in an attempt to get more people on Facebook feeling the benefits the World Wide Web can bring. To solve the problem of providing internet to remote areas, companies are taking to the skies; Google has hot air balloons, Facebook has jumbo jet-sized drones, Tesla/SpaceX’s Elon Musk has hundreds of tiny satellites.


Over the course of 2014, Russia has taken an increasingly hostile stance towards western tech companies. Putin called the internet “a CIA project,” while the government has tried to get the source code from companies such as SAP & Apple, passed bills that require all Russian data to be stored locally and launched various state-run alternatives to services such as Google and Wikipedia.

Also in the news: Net Neutrality, Google and the Right to be Forgotten, Wage Fixing in Silicon Valley, Supermarkets getting into the hardware space, Tech companies increasingly involved in politics & lobbying,  The rise and fall of Flappy Bird, Oracle’s Larry Ellison stepping down, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella stepping up, and finally, The Queen sent a tweet.