Microsoft's big Windows 8 push – Microsoft pushed three big new products in 2012: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and its Surface tablet. This is Windows 8, the company's bold new operating system, running on an HP Envy x2, left, and a Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, right.
SOPA backlash – On January 18 several major websites, including Wikipedia, went dark to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which many felt would unfairly criminalize sites that hosted pirated content. SOPA died in Congress soon afterwards.
Live-tweeting war – In November, missile strikes between Israel and Palestinian forces in Gaza were accompanied in real time by boasts and threats on Twitter. The exchanges between the IDF and Hamas during a military conflict were called an unprecedented use of social media.
Apple maps stumble – Many users were unhappy with Apple's poorly executed new maps app, which replaced Google maps in its iOS6 mobile operating system. The maps misidentified landmarks, drew a rare apology from Apple CEO Tim Cook and led to an executive shakeup at the company.
Apple vs. Samsung – Apple accused Samsung of copyright infringement, saying the Korean electronics maker had copied its technology for some of its phones and tablets. A jury in August awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages, although Samsung has appealed the verdict.
Facebook's botched IPO – Facebook's May debut as a public company was one of 2012's biggest blunders. Expectations for the company's stock were huge, but by September it was trading at less than half its initial price. Here, founder Mark Zuckerberg is shown on a screen in Times Square after ringing the opening Nasdaq bell on May 18.
The Instagram boom – Instagram, the app that lets you add arty filters to your photos and share them with friends, had a big year. It went from a beloved niche network to full-blown power player after Facebook purchased the company for $735 million. By December the service had grown from 15 million to more than 100 million users and suffered its first big privacy backlash.
Megaupload and Kim Dotcom – The colorful Kim Dotcom, founder of file-sharing site Megaupload.com, became an instant Internet celebrity after he was arrested in New Zealand on online-piracy charges. He emerged as a hero for Internet freedom activists who thought he was unfairly targeted.
Mid-sized tablets make their mark – Ten-inch tablets are so last year. In 2012, the hottest-selling tablets were ultra-portable 7-inch models such as the Kindle Fire, the Nexus 7 and Apple's new iPad Mini.
Nintendo launches Wii U – Nintendo, which revolutionized video gaming six years ago with its motion-controlled Wii, tried to reboot its aging system with a new console that incorporates a touchscreen tablet controller.
Yahoo hires Marissa Mayer – Aging Internet company Yahoo was facing slumping revenue and internal strife before it made the bold announcement in July to hire Google exec Marissa Mayer as its new CEO. Mayer brought instant star power to Yahoo while giving birth to her first child, a boy, in September.
Tech's role in the 2012 election – President Barack Obama posted this photo of himself answering questions on social-sharing site Reddit in August. Both Obama and challenger Mitt Romney made frequent use of social media throughout the 2012 campaign, although the president's computer program to drive voter turnout was considered far superior to Romney's.