The top 10 news in 2008

What started out as a banking crisis became a story for all of us in IT during 2008. But there were a lot of other big IT stories this year, including mergers, acquisitions, serious data losses and IT project bungles.

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Good riddance to a year that witnessed a flood of redundancies, data blunders and economic turmoil.

The most influential businessman of our time, Bill Gates, moved on from Microsoft to focus on philanthropy. Microsoft itself, moving into middle age and struggling to gain ascendancy on the web, was involved in many of the biggest stories of the year. HP bought EDS. Long-awaited products like the Android-based G1 "Google phone" were launched. Standards wars involving file formats like OOXML concluded. The battle against spam purveyors like McColo went on and on.

Here, not necessarily in order of importance, is the IDG News Service's pick for top 10 technology stories of the year.

The credit crunch hits IT workers

In October, the Bank of England declared the UK was in the midst of a recession. The tech sector is not immune. In September, Lehman Brothers spectacularly went bankrupt. The collapse of the investment bank, a pioneer in cutting-edge IT systems, sent shudders through the city, leaving IT workers in fear for their jobs.

By December, as the recession deepened, thousands of jobs, including back office workers, were cut at banks including HSBC and Credit Suisse.

But the panic began long before Lehman Brothers collapsed. Throughout the third quarter, firms had slammed the brakes on outsourcing investment, according to sourcing advisory firm TPI. In May, Citi said it would cut a massive £1.5 billion from annual IT costs. By November, the situation blew up, and the bank announced a further 52,000 job cuts, including IT.

In March, a report by recruitment service provider Giant Group said IT contractors were struggling to find work. Supplier Fujitsu Siemens warned that permanent IT staff could face difficulty looking for work, as it predicted IT departments would halve in size in a decade. In August, Gartner said there would be a widespread slowdown in the IT sector.

Spanish bank Santander, which owns Abbey, somewhat turned the turmoil to its advantage, snapping up Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley in the summer.

Not all was doom and gloom for the tech sector, however. Red Hat chief executive Jim Whitehurst predicted that the credit crunch would encourage enterprises to invest in open source. Forrester founder George Colony said in November that the technology sector's fall will not be as dramatic as the bust of 2000. Prime minister Gordon Brown said that technology investment was essential to boosting the economy.

NEXT: HP gobbles up EDS, Microsoft pursues Yahoo

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