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Highs and lows of 2016

highs-and-lows-of-2016-in-tech-title2016, a rollercoaster year of political bamboozlement, celebrity deaths and sporting upset. If 2016 has been a year to forget about for the bookies, it’s been almost as crazy in the tech market. From major mergers and chauvinistic chatbots to exploding batteries and emissions scandals 2016 had it all.

So, we’ve come up with a list of the highs and lows of 2016 in the tech industry.

 

January-March

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It all started on a high… January saw Netflix launched in 130 additional countries making it one of the largest media streaming services in the world.

February gave us a whole new way to communicate via Facebook with the introduction of new emoticons in posts.

In sports, Super Bowl 50 sets a record for streaming views, with a total of 315 million minutes, an average of 1.4 million people per minute.

Music streaming service TIDAL became the number one app in the iTunes Store after Kanye West announced his new album, The Life of Pablo, would be available only through the platform for a week, before being sold on his website.

…And Alphabet, Google’s holding company, knocks perennial big boys Apple off the charts to become the most valuable company in the world.
Lows

Microsoft launched a new chat bot named Tay. After less than a day, and influenced by her numerous online chat partners, Tay turns out to be a chauvinistic, Hitler-loving racist and was promptly removed.

A California hospital’s computer network was hacked with ransomware, making access to some patient data impossible without a decryption key to unlock the data. The hackers were reportedly demanding $3.6 million in bitcoins as ransom, but eventually settled for $17,000.

 

April-June

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April came round and we were shooting for the stars…and safely landing again with SpaceX becoming the first engineers to re-land a rocket from a trip into orbit.
LEXMARK became the next US corporate giant to be bought out by a Chinese firm. The American printer giant was taken over by Apex Technology and an Asian investment bank – APR

May saw Google ban payday loans ads and put big restrictions on short-term money lenders advertising using their service.

Gaming season came round with a bang and both Microsoft and Sony announcing the next generation upgrades to their consoles. PlayStation announced the PS4 Slim & Pro  –  then Xbox announced project Scorpio.

It took months to squeeze through but, in June, Microsoft announced it was to acquire business social network LinkedIn for an eye-watering $26 billion.

 

Lows

So as the UK got Brexit, the tech industry also got caught with its pants down a few times in the summer.

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None more so than Volkswagen, who had to recall nearly five hundred thousand diesel engine vehicles that were programmed to fake compliant emission test results. The fallout knocked millions off the manufacturing giant in a matter of days and the scandal is still running.

 

YouTube introduce six-second long “bumper” ads that are non-skippable…Cue mass downloads of Adblocker

360 million MySpace usernames and passwords, from accounts created prior to 2013 (who created one after?) were stolen and are being sold online.

Messaging app WhatsApp was banned in Brazil for 72 hours as a penalty for not helping police access messages.
July – September

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90’s children were overjoyed at the news out of Nintendo- Pokémon go was released (in weird patches) to the world in July. The semi-VR game swept the globe in the summer and helped Nintendo stock jump by 24% in a single day… then It got a bit rubbish, but we all had our summer fun…

Over to the world eSports and another pro sports team invest in the growing online gaming trend. The Philadelphia 76ers (US Basketball team) acquired Team Dignitas and Apex. One of the largest franchisees to get involved in eSports.

The European Commission ruled that Apple owed 13 billion euros in back taxes to Ireland after receiving illegal tax breaks.

 

Lows
The most eagerly anticipated and hyped title since GTA 5 hit the market-  No Man’s Sky is released by HelloGames in July and….. Flops. Big time. The ultimate open world space drama comes with more glitches second-hand Tamagotchi. From minor gameplay annoyances to straight up lies from the NMS development/marking team.
If 2016 was explosive politically, Samsung took it to a new level with their flagship phone the Note 7, having to be recalled due to an ‘unstable hardware’, which in real world translation is; exploding battery. The South Korean giant went through a number of stages of denial and partial caution before finally ordering a recall in their high-end product in September. The recall is expected to cost Samsung a whopping $5billion.

Speaking of politics, the online petition for a proposed ‘second vote’ on the UK leaving the European Union had as many as 77,000 signatures was disqualified because they were believed to have been created by bots.

North Korea leak their entire internet base, turns out to be only 28 accessible sites.

 

October- December

As the most baffling election in US history came to a, let’s just say… end. The tech companies were also still hot on topic with headline filling stories.

Highs

Nintendo delighted gamers worldwide with the announcement of the Switch console. The Swiss Army knife of consoles is part-tablet, hub and console- 2017 will be the judge of its success.
As Black Friday and Christmas drew closer, Google finally released their mammoth flagship phone- the Pixel. With Samsung on the rocks from exploding battery-gate and Apple fans not exactly bowled over by the newest generation iPhone, the Pixel looks to top the year’s smartphone wish list.

 

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The UK, very sneakily, pass an extreme surveillance bill allowing agencies new effectively open powers to monitor and request data from ISPs citizens.

Those meagre highlights were nothing compared to the lowlights at the end of the year-

Video streaming service Vine is shut down by owners Twitter as the company focuses on self-streaming and Periscope.

Security breaches have been rife all year during 2016 and November saw one of the largest with a huge DDOS attack on big names sites such as Twitter and Spotify.
And there we have it, a year in tech. From the high to the lows, it been an interesting ride for the tech market. If we’ve missed anything out you thing is worth a mention, give us shout in the box below.

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Danny Young

Features Editor

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