As has become customary at this time of the year, it’s time for TechCentral to name its newsmakers of the year.
Last year, we published the top 10 SA newsmakers of the year. This year, we’re adding an international dimension, naming the five people we thought who were the biggest newsmakers in the technology space in 2010 worldwide.
Today we bring you the international list. We’ll be publishing the top 10 SA newsmakers this week, too — numbers 10 to 6 on Tuesday and numbers 5 to 1 on Wednesday — so check back for those.
Of course, lists like these are subjective, but they’re our attempt to find the people we believe deserve the title “newsmaker of the year”. Leave your thoughts in the comment box. — Staff reporter, TechCentral
The world’s youngest billionaire at just 26, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has kicked up a storm this year.
Facebook has undergone several changes this year, leading to an outcry over how the changes affected users’ privacy. Zuckerberg effectively brushed off the concerns around privacy saying that the age of privacy is over. His arrogant approach left many concerned. But privacy concerns aside, the site has still managed to clock up its 500 millionth user.
Zuckerberg also reached a milestone as his net wealth topped that of Apple CEO Steve Jobs in the Forbes wealthiest Americans list. Zuckerberg is worth US$6,9bn; Jobs is a pauper at $6,1bn.
A less than flattering movie about Facebook, The Social Network, also had Zuckerberg dominating headlines this year.
Steve Jobs is an obvious name to include on our list. In 2010, the Apple CEO not only defined a new market segment with the iPad tablet computer, but his company also shot past Microsoft to become the most valuable technology business in the world. Just a few months after that event, and Apple is worth US$60bn more than its traditional nemesis in Redmond. With demand for iPads and iPhones showing no sign of abating, Apple looks set for another bumper year in 2011. The question is: how long can Jobs keep doing it? And what happens when he leaves? — DM
It was Rupert Murdoch vs Google this year as the Australian media mogul made every effort to stop the search engine “stealing” his content. As founder and CEO of News Corp, Murdoch has been trying to find a way to prevent Google using snippets of the company’s content in its news search engine.
The battle had Murdoch so worked up that he allegedly blocked News Corp staff from using Google. To top it off, he made the bold decision to put some of his newspapers’ online content behind pay walls.
Now Murdoch has joined hands with Apple’s Jobs to build a newspaper for the iPad. — CJ
The entertaining legal spat between software rivals SAP and Oracle grabbed its fair share of headlines this year. Oracle was awarded damages in a case that revealed an SAP subsidiary was stealing its software.
Though Oracle won the case, the company’s outspoken CEO, Larry Ellison, hasn’t refrained from taking pot shots at former SAP head Leo Apotheker, who is now CEO of Hewlett Packard (HP). Apotheker took over at HP from Mark Hurd, a friend of Ellison’s who recently joined Oracle.
Ellison tried to bait HP into letting Apotheker take the stand in the trial, using a tirade of accusations. In classical Ellison style, Oracle even suggested HP’s new tagline should be “Invent to Steal”.
Ellison was so desperate to see Apotheker testify that he got the company to hire a private detective to find him. However, HP didn’t fall for it, and Apotheker didn’t take the stand. — CJ
A few weeks ago, few people outside of geek circles had heard of Julian Assange. Now the Australian national is on the front pages of newspapers all over the world thanks to his leaking of confidential US diplomatic cables. Assange has attracted stinging criticism from governments and some degree of support and even admiration from the left. He’s a hero of hackers and libertarians alike. But governments and diplomats everywhere are cursing him. Journalists love every minute of it, trawling through the thousands of cables for every juicy tidbit. No other candidate comes close to Assange in our list of international newsmakers for 2010. — DM