Profile of Alexander Wolfe
News & Commentary Posts: 624
Alexander Wolfe is a former editor for InformationWeek.
Articles by Alexander Wolfe
posted in December 2009
In my recent story on the Apple iSlate speculation, I pointed to Windows tablets to make the point that Steve Jobs and company don't invent things, they perfect them. But when I wrote that Apple doesn't have any tablet patents, a reader noted that what Apple does have is multi-touch interface patents. And those will be the key to the Apple tablet.
The operating-system buzz in 2009 may have been split 60/40 between Windows 7 and Google Chrome OS, but only the former is here today. As to whether a Web-centric OS like Chrome can ultimately edge out the most polished traditional desktop version ever, that's yet to be determined. During 2010, though, I expect that Windows 7 will increase its footprint, as enterprises initially wary of adoption begin to fold Win7 boxes into heterogeneous environments.
For processor-architecture voyeurs of the Intel variety, 2009 was most interesting for the emergence of the low end as market segment with legs enough to compete with traditional laptops. (Read: Atom and netbooks.) At the same time, servers got a big kicker with release of the Nehalem line in April.
Apple's expected release of a humongous-screened iPod will legitimize the platform for business users. It could, in turn, revive Windows-based tablets and make Webpads the big alt.platform story of 2010.
High-profile developments on the processor landscape this year included aggressive multicore designs, research to put data centers on chip, and a surprise antitrust settlement between the dueling semiconductor vendors.
For the last few days, I've been mulling over the top semiconductor stories of the year. Clearly, the settlement by Intel and AMD of their ongoing antitrust and patent/licensing disputes is the biggest business news. Picking the tech champ is tougher, because it's not about where we've been in 2009, but rather where we're headed in 2010.
Today's experience of upgrading one's PC to a new operating system is qualitatively different from that of a decade ago. It's no longer so much about the OS. You've already got something decent; you're mostly adding new bells and whistles. What's different now is there's a lot more user data--pictures, e-mails and music/video files--to move over. And that experience, quite frankly, stinks.
The plan to field a multicore graphics engine, which would have put Intel into direct competition against Nvidia, has been put on hold for now.
InformationWeek readers were the first to learn about Intel's efforts to pack a data center onto a single chip, via my recent interview with Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner. (See Intel CTO Envisions On-Chip Data Centers.) Now, the chip behemoth has taken things one step further, formally announcing its single-chip cloud research project.
I sat down recently to chat with Juan Santana, chief executive of the largest security vendor you might not be familiar with. Yet Panda Security, founded in Spain in 1990, is huge in Europe and no slouch either in the United States, where it competes against the likes of Symantec, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, and McAfee. I talked with Santana amid the launch of Panda Cloud Protection Service, which moves threat analysis to the cloud and installs with a very small footprint on the client.