Over the past two decades, it seems that every year, technology changes at an ever-increasing rate. Whether driven by advances in hardware, software or both, or the result of disruptive technologies, even IT professionals are sometimes amazed by how rapidly the tech world is changing. As was the case in previous years, 2014 brought new products, interesting news and innovative solutions for a number of IT challenges. The following timeline lists some of the most significant events in 2014.
- Lenovo confirms that it has purchased IBM's Intel-powered line of System X servers for $2.3 billion. The sale appeared to confirm speculation by analysts that IBM was planning to become more focused on the cloud. However, IBM retained its higher-priced line of Power servers.
- Just days after completing the above purchase, Lenovo announced that it would purchase Motorola Mobility.
- CA Technologies announces release of first cloud-based mobile device management suite for enterprises. Encompassing enterprise mobility management and mobile operations and development, the product offers extra security for BYOD as well as assistance for businesses moving toward the Internet of Things.
- At the SharePoint Conference, Microsoft announced that there would be no server update for SharePoint during 2014. No firm schedule was provided for the update although the company stated it would not occur before 2015. The announcement was seen by some analysts as further proof that Microsoft prefers to provide its services in the cloud.
- Sitecore CMS 7.5 is released, bringing with it a wealth of new features and enhancements for existing features. Among the benefits offered by the new release were eliminating requirements to use only SQL databases, improved analytics and available session storage.
- China has been improving its position in the tech market over the past few years, and perhaps no company better demonstrates this than Xiaomi. In April, the company announced that it sold 11 million of its smartphones during the first quarter of 2014 and expected to ship a total of at least 60 million by year-end. Xiaomi has moved beyond China's borders into Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, and there are rumors that the company has plans to expand into Latin America and India.
- Unusual partnerships have become increasingly commonplace in the IT world, but the strategic partnership between Microsoft and its rival, Salesforce, surprised many analysts. The pairing will allow people to use Salesforce and Office 365 together, among other things.
- In a move that appears to be an effort to shore up its iTunes operations against an increasing number of competitors, Apple confirmed that it had purchased Beats Music, a streaming service, and Beats Electronics, a manufacturer of headphones and headsets.
Apple had quite a bit of news to release at its annual WWDC.
- Preview of iOS 8, Apple's newest release for iPads and iPhones
- Introduction of its Health app, designed to help users manage their health and fitness
- In what was decidedly a low-key manner, Apple unveiled its new programming language, Swift, which was the company's first true departure from Objective-C.
- Facebook announced an increase in second quarter profits of 138 percent over the second quarter of 2013. More than 62 percent of the site's revenue was generated by mobile advertising.
- Apple announced record profits for Q2
- In response to privacy concerns, Apple announced more strident rules for its HealthKit platform.
- Google confirmed that it is developing drones that could be used to deliver emergency supplies and other types of humanitarian relief, but admitted that the drones might be used commercially as well.
- California passes a bill requiring a "kill switch" on all smartphones by July 2015 for all such devices purchased online or within the state. The first state to enact a similar law was Minnesota.
- Sitecore offered a tech preview of release 8.0 to MVPs.
- iOS 8 was officially released although beta versions had been made available earlier.
- Lenovo finalized its purchase of Motorola Mobility, positioning itself to be the number-three smartphone vendor globally.
- Android 5.0 Lollipop SDK was released, giving developers access to a number of new or enhanced tools.
- In a further "blurring of the lines" between hardware manufacturers and software developers, HP Inc. released a mobile management app -- called Touchpoint Manager -- designed for small-to-medium sized enterprises. Further add-ons have been promised. The company is also planning to "refresh" its lineup of "2-in-1 notebooks" and EliteBooks early in 2015.
- MS Outlook lacked adequate cross-platform support for mobile access, and Microsoft appears to be addressing that issue by purchasing Accompli. The purchase will help Microsoft make Outlook "operating system agnostic" to enhance the program's ability to work with iOS and Android devices.
- The first 10 apps resulting from the IBM/Apple partnership were released. However, in a departure from Apple's standard practices, the apps are now available from Apple's App Store. IBM is controlling the sales and provisioning although no one can state whether this will be a permanent arrangement.