News in review: the top tech stories of 2012

7. Regulators step in over ebook pricing

Regulators in the US and EU targeted ebook pricing control deals between Apple and five major publishers, who had been trying to prevent Amazon from driving down prices.

They did that by agreeing to drop the standard wholesale model – where retailers set prices for books – in favour of the agency model, where publishers set retail prices, and where Apple was always guaranteed the lowest price. Of the top six publishers, all but Random House signed up – a distinction that earns that firm a round of applause.

Other top stories

It was a busy year in tech – here’s the other top stories that just missed the list.

SOPA blackout

Cookie law comes into force

Extradition of Gary McKinnon halted…

…same goes for Richard O’Dwyer

Google and Amazon slammed over taxes

New iPad “overheating”

DNSChanger and Flame malware

Over three days – handily just before the arrival of the iPad – prices leapt by three to four dollars per book. After pressure from regulators, the five publishers and Apple have all signed agreements banning them from trying it again for a few years.

6. Nexus 7 and iPad mini help 7in tablets take off

The iPad has dominated tablets since its arrival, with Steve Jobs famously saying Apple would never make a 7in model. Well, it would appear current CEO Tim Cook doesn’t feel the same way.

After the success of Amazon’s 7in Kindle last year, Google released the Nexus 7, and Apple unveiled the iPad mini. While Amazon and Google continue to battle it out in the budget end of the market, Apple has kept its tiny tablet as a premium product.

Nexus 7

5. Windows president walks away

Steve Sinofsky, the president of Windows, surprised the industry – and us – by quitting after the launch of Windows 8. Sinofsky never did give a reason, leading to speculation that he’d been encouraged to leave by Steve Ballmer, perhaps perceiving a threat to his continued hold on the CEO role. Others said his management style had been unpopular among Microsoft employees, or that sales of Windows 8 hadn’t impressed the board.

Sinofsky recently tweeted he’ll be teaching at Harvard Business School, but many expect him to be still in the running as a successor to Ballmer, should he decide to step down as CEO.

This year had other major CEO moves, including Marissa Mayer taking the reins at Yahoo, Paul Otellini announcing his retirement from Intel, and Apple saying goodbye to head of retail John Browett and iOS chief Scott Forstall, and giving Jonathan Ive more design work to do.

Steve Sinofsky

4. Porn blocking saga continues

Few tech-related stories grab as much mainstream attention as this one: should porn be blocked from the UK internet to protect children? Not only did MP Claire Perry push the issue, but so too did the Daily Mail and The Sunday Times.

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