Industry leaders speak up
When the year began, Google opened for trading at a measly $197.
By the year's end, the stock had more than doubled in price, and some analysts said it was a lock for $500. Outsiders said the "Year of Google" was part of a bigger shift in the technology industry, one that would work against Microsoft.
But Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has been in this situation before. In the mid-'90s, Microsoft found itself playing second fiddle to Netscape before rising to the challenge and emerging triumphant. For Gates, Microsoft's future will turn on a new generation of software services that makes good on his 2000 Comdex prediction of information at people's fingertips.
Meanwhile, the rest of the industry wasn't waiting around to find out whose vision was right. Lots of buzz surrounded the prospects for community-driven media such as blogs and wikis--along with their kissing cousin, podcasts.
Digital time-shifting became all the rage with Web surfers, who used their portable MP3 players to consume broadcasted information in a radically new way. Maybe the old broadcast conglomerates weren't yet shaking in their boots. But they knew their universe was changing. And no less a personage than former MTV VJ Adam Curry soon found himself in the vanguard of this digital revolution.
But 2005 was also a year for marking legacies. Forty years after Gordon Moore issued his now-legendary dictum predicting the course of microprocessor development, Moore's famous law was still going strong. So was one of his disciples, Craig Barrett, who finished out his stewardship as CEO of Intel.
Peering into the crystal ball, it was difficult to say whether 2006 would be a breakthrough year for technology. Still, there were voices like AMD's Hector Ruiz predicting the advent of $100 PCs in the near-future.
Maybe it's not as crazy as it sounds at first blush. As more computer intelligence comes to reside on the network, why can't stripped-down computers cost as little as a dinner for two at a fancy downtown restaurant? This recalled the network computer vision promoted in the late 1990s by Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison and Sun Microsystems' CEO Scott McNealy.
The missing ingredient back then was a robust broadband infrastructure as pervasive as the modern phone system. But despite a decade's worth of progress, the state of the country's broadband infrastructure remained uneven. Some critics contended that the United States is even falling behind, pointing to the extensive broadband coverage in nations like South Korea and Japan.
The fix will involve the combined efforts of policy makers and private industry figures like Cisco CEO John Chambers--and that can't come any too soon, according to FCC Commissioner Michael Copps.
Speaking of broadband, a simmering debate over who should control the global Internet finally came to a head in Tunis, where the United Nations brought together the different factions. It may not be peace in our time--but it was a start.
Cisco chief John Chambers talks about the drive to be No. 1 and his company's ideal takeover target.
Adam Curry is part of a techno-vanguard changing conventional notions about radio. But can he and other podcasters live up to the hype?
With customer complaints mounting, CEO Niklas Zennström wants to make sure Skype doesn't become a victim of its own success.
Nobel prize winner Arno Penzias sees the end of farming and recalls when video recorders cost $15,000.
JotSpot CEO Joe Kraus says wikis will be around--and flourishing--long after their initial 15 minutes of fame expire.
CEO Bruce Chizen talks up the impending merger with Macromedia and what comes next for Flash.
After a decade, CEO Jon von Tetzchner has learned a few lessons about how best to keep Microsoft at bay. Will they work for the next decade? Read on.
Growing clout of Web-based development is much in evidence as Microsoft courts developers. But is Bill Gates losing sleep? Nah.
Mike Merzenich, a neuroscientist, investigates whether intelligence in the Internet age is really on the upswing.
The legendary inventor considers how artificial intelligence might reshape human society.
RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser tells CNET News.com how he finally buried the competitive hatchet with longtime rival Bill Gates.
Reformed criminal takes the measure of today's hackers and the current state of software security.
As Google catches heat over its library plan, Amazon.com turns a page on its own offering.
Forget complaints about U.S. dominance of the Internet. Axel Pawlik and his fellow root server operators are the real authorities.
Behind the headlines