Top 15 stories for 2008

In a busy year for news, these were the biggest front page stories

  • Apple iPhone launched In one of the biggest product announcements for 2008, Apple launched this popular mobile Internet device in Australia on July 11 through the major telco carriers. After [[artid:458493865|sparking initial concerns that Apple reseller stores wouldn’t be allowed to stock the new device|new]], the vendor confirms those with Vodafone, Telstra or Optus dealer status will have access to the iPhone.
  • ADSL2+ and Telstra Several ISPs threatened legal action after the telco giant announced it would active next-generation ADSL2+ services across 900 exchanges in Australia, but refused to confirm if wholesale customers would get access to the sought-after service. After months of speculation, [[artid: 699381743|Telstra opened up wholesale access|new]], but was again criticised for not detailing pricing.
  • Next-generation broadband Shortly after entering power, the Rudd Government axed the Opel wireless network rollout and launched its own $4.7 billion tender process to build a National Broadband Network. The tender has been one of the most publicised issues in the IT press this year, as Telstra and several consortiums fought over how the NBN should be tackled. Things came to a head this week when Senator Stephen Conroy [[artnid:270911|banned Telstra from the bidding process|new]] after the telco giant failed to lodge a compliant bid.
  • ComputerCorp and Leading Solutions merger collapses The [[artid:1161970767|sensational collapse of this merger at the eleventh hour|new]] sent shockwaves through the industry in the early part of the year. Rumours that the break-up was due to BCA IT credit issues were categorically denied by Leading’s managing director, Frank Colli, who was also adamant it could still expand nationally.
  • Windows Vista SP1 and Longhorn After copping a lot of flack, industry representatives claimed the release of SP1 would help finally trigger widespread Vista sales. However, no such impetus was needed for Windows Server 2008, which met with [[artid:53460934|strong and favourable reviews in the channel|new]]. Key features included the adoption of Hyper-V virtualisation technology, terminal services and its componentised server core.
  • Lenovo expands market focus The China-based vendor [[artid:1810344998|strikes partnerships with the Dick Smith chain and Domayne|new]] to break into the retail space and announces its first consumer machines, the IdeaPad notebook and IdeaCentre desktop. Towards the end of the year, it also [[artid:250171859|brings out its inaugural server series|new]].
  • Commander hits the skids The [[artid:637110837|sacking of managing director, Adrian Coote|new]], and overhaul of the management team in January, was just the start of the listed integrator’s fall from grace this year. A business turnaround plan and decision to largely exit the PC reseller space weren’t enough to cover mounting debts, severe losses ($245 million in the six months to Dec 31) or keep the company from liquidation.
  • Cellnet business overhaul The return of the founder, Stephen Harrison, as managing director prompted a raft of changes at the embattled distributor this year. After several rounds of staff cuts, vendor relationship changes and new business plans, it [[artnid:265814|announced in November that it would exit the PC and notebook distribution market|new]] in order to focus on higher-end server and telco accessory sales.
  • Global financial markets collapse and Aussie dollar plummets The economic downturn has dominated business and tech news for the second half of 2008. The collapse of global markets, fears of a recession and poor customer confidence [[artid:1555659384|are expected to slow customer spending in some areas of IT, according to analysts|new]]. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Australians have also had to deal with a wildly fluctuating currency. After reaching a highs of $US0.98, the dollar dropped 30% within a matter of months, and was trading at $US0.66 at time of press. This [[artid:762466551|volatility|new]] prompted vendor pricing reviews and caused headaches for distributors.
  • SaaS debate The launch of [[artnid:265991|Telstra’s software-as-a-service platform|new]] raises questions about the role integrators will play in an increasingly on-demand world. Vendors, such as Microsoft and IBM, have also kicked off their SaaS offerings. According to a [[artnid:269890|global Gartner study, 90 per cent of customers are looking to maintain or increase their SaaS usage|new]]. k and IdeaCentre desktop. Towards the end of the year, it also [[artid:250171859|brings out its inaugural server series|new]].
  • Optima closes its doors The loss of government and education contracts to multinationals, coupled with the failed acquisition of retail chain, Digital City, proved too much for this listed Australian PC assembler, [[artid:942915538|who went into administration in July|new]]. According to administrators, Moore Stephens, the combined group’s debts exceeded $14 million.
  • Dell enters retail and the channel After years of boasting about its direct go-to-market strategy, Dell did one of the biggest backflips in the history of our industry and [[artid:343149524|launched an indirect model|new]]. The first step was a partnership with Officeworks in April, which caused HP to promptly cut ties with the retail chain. In September, Dell launched its first channel program locally.
  • Gershon review Ongoing moves by the Federal Government towards centralised ICT procurement culminated in the release and [[artnid:270777|support of the Gershon review in December|new]]. Among the list of recommendations are cutting the use of contractors by 50%, and slashing business as usual spending by $400 million annually.
  • Green IT The [[artid:1722667071|introduction of carbon reporting obligations under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007|new]] was just one of many initiatives unveiled this year promoting sustainability practices around the use of ICT. For the channel and end-users, this saw conversations broaden away from shallow green marketing into a more comprehensive message.
  • Oil price hikes The surge in oil prices globally took their tolls on local distributor transport costs this year, prompting a review of freight policies and pricing. Although most initially planned to absorb the cost, [[artid:988356421|Ingram Micro announced a new flat fee across freight costs|new]] in October.
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