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Network World - Apple, AT&T, Microsoft, Google and others are givens for being among the top newsmakers of 2011. Others will no doubt surprise us as we go along.
While it's so much easier to look back at the end of the year and reflect on the newsworthiness of a technology industry event than to do so as the event is happening, Network World this year is daring to make our picks for the top technology stories of the year as we go along. We'll update this article regularly -- as news dictates.
World IPv6 Day. The one-day, worldwide event designed to show off the capabilities and readiness of the Internet Protocol update went off with nary a hitch. World IPv6 Day, which involved 400 organizations including big name content suppliers, carriers, hardware vendors and software makers, was said to be the most watched tech-related event since New Year's Eve 1999, when all eyes were on the Y2K bug.
LulzSec wreaks havoc. The short-lived hacking group garnered international attention by attacking websites belonging to governments and companies, including the CIA and Sony. It ended its reign of cyberterror in late June: "Our planned 50 day cruise has expired, and we must now sail into the distance, leaving behind - we hope - inspiration, fear, denial, happiness, approval, disapproval, mockery, embarrassment, thoughtfulness, jealousy, hate, even love," the group said in a post on the Pastebin website. Though LulzSec might not completely have faded away, with some members reportedly joining the Anonymous hacking group.
Microsoft heads into the clouds. Microsoft debuted its Office 365 cloud service -- the company's answer to Google Apps -- and the latest Microsoft offering designed to expand the company's reach beyond packaged software. Microsoft is giving some organizations big incentives to use the new offering. Office 365 complements earlier Microsoft cloud offerings, including its Azure platform-as-a-service, which hasn't caught on in a big way yet.
Microsoft-Skype $8.5B blockbuster. Microsoft's bold buyout of the voice and video IP company is seen by analysts as an aggressive move to challenge Google, Facebook and others for the hearts, minds and wallets of online users. Some industry watchers say Microsoft actually had technology in its portfolio to compete with Skype on many fronts, but that buying the company gives Microsoft lots of customers fast. The combination of the Skype buyout and advances on the Windows Phone 7 front also gives Microsoft its strongest mobile offerings to date.
OpenFlow grabs Interop spotlight. The big Interop 2011 show could almost have been called the OpenFlow show given that it served as one of the first significant exhibitions of OpenFlow switches and controllers, including those shown off in a lab at the event. The software-defined networking technology is designed to enable users to define flows and determine what paths those flows take through a network, regardless of the underlying hardware. OpenFlow stems from an open source project borne of a six-year research collaboration between Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.