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The top rating technology stories of 2013

Mon, 06 Jan 2014

1. Mega signs 500,000 members on first day, Dotcom claims
2. Dotcom files against US government, accuses FBI of dodgy dealing
3. Crashed plane owned by 2degrees boss Eric Hertz
4. Hands on with the iPhone 5s, 5c | Review wrapup
5. New Zealander Tony Lentino revealed as largest Mega investor

6. Telecom to review its Xtra email service; Quin hints Yahoo could be dumped
7. Leaked EQC spreadsheet back online for public download
8. Auckland man buys Game of Thrones, Season 3, on iTunes Australia
9. Coliseum partners with TVNZ to swipe soccer rights from Sky
10. Dotcom: I would have hosted Mega in New Zealand, but...

ERIC HERTZ: His March death in a small plane crash shocked the telco industry.

11. Xero smashes through $5b mark - but then comes the hangover
12. Google Nose beta offers search-and-sniff
13. Xero's share price - one pundit's analysis
14. Govt plans secret orders to service providers once spy bill becomes law
15. Orcon sale imminent

HIGH ROLLING: Xero CEO Rod Drury at an accounting trade show in Las Vegas. Drury hogged the most headlines, but the year saw successful stockmarket moves by a clutch of tech players including SLI Systems, GeoOP, Snakk Media, Wynyard Group and Pacific Edge.

16. Dotcom meets with Holmes - after an emergency landing
17. Vodafone launches 4G; HD video controversy lingers
18. Marae service for Eric and Kathy Hertz (with VIDEO)
19. Xero hits $1.62b, Woodwards sees it climbing to $6.4b
20. Dear IRD: how to shave $1b from your $1.5b software spendup

BRYAN STAPLES: Unintended recipient of EQC spreadsheet.

21. Wheedle relaunch Monday
22. Telecom finally launches VDSL turbocharged copper broadband - and fronts on premium charges
23. Sky TV wrecks Coliseum's Premier League party
24. As kill-date nears, 25% of NZ business PCs still on Windows XP
25. Sue Sky

GOING 4G: Kimberley Crossman: with friend at Vodafone's launch. 4G from Vodafone and Telecom lets you download a high def movie in minutes - though you'd bust your monthly data cap in the process.

26. Telecom launches UFB fibre plans - key points
27. Telecom on verge of cutting 1500 jobs - Curran
28. US man busted for outsourcing his own job
29. Vodafone muscles in on Gen-i's police business with $159m mobile contract win
30. Slingshot launches Global Mode – allows access to overseas media

KIM DOTCOM (with co-accused Finn Batato): Talking up NZ, but mostly hosting Mega offshore.

31. Score one for badgering Richard - breakthrough on overhead lines will save thousands of Telecom UFB customers hundreds of dollars
32. The $136m payday
33. Orcon CEO thumbs nose at Sky TV, signs up for Netflix
34. NetSafe boss warns stolen Yahoo Xtra data could be used for future attacks
35. Another Kiwi tech gutted after offshore sale

GUTTED: Former NextWindow CEO Al Monro saw his company's new North American owner slash NZ jobs. NZ techs continue to accept millions in direct government grants, then sell themselves offshore.

36. Vodafone gearing up for surprise 4G launch Thursday? A trace of evidence
37. Telecom reveals number of mobile customers using iMessage, Skype
38. BlackBerry in NZ comeback bid, with Z10 backed by Telecom, Vodafone
39. First music pirate nailed under new copyright law
40. EY: Slash Chorus dividend payouts by $290m

EY'S VERDICT ON CHORUS: Contrary to the Prime Minister John Key's assertion "there's a chance Chorus will go broke" if the Commerce Commission's copper price cuts go through (as they now seem destined to), an EY Australia report said there are a number of straightforward ways to close most of its $1b UFB funding gap. The government will likely not tip in any more money, but shareholders are almost certain to feel dividend pain - and every copper broadband customer could end up chipping in if Chorus takes the "nuclear option" to reduce service levels for copper broadband, meaning ISPs (and their customers) have to pay extra to get more dialup-level speed.

41. Google stacks on NZ jobs, pays little tax – again
42. Kordia sells Orcon
43. UFB contractors down tools
44. Telecom 4G launch in October; chooses Huawei over long-time network partner Alcatel-Lucent
45. Chorus shares in freefall

The so-called "Skynet" or "three strikes" anti-file sharing law turned out to be a damp squib. The film industry did not take a single case to the Copyright Tribunal. Music labels did take a handful cases to the Tribunal, but won damages in the hundreds of dollars (the maximum fine is $15,000). The Tribunal heard just 17 cases, and none in the final three months of the year. Those that were heard were far from PR triumphs; one involved a father being fined after his eight-year-old son unwittingly downloaded a song (by the father's testimony); another saw a soldier fined for songs illegally downloaded on his internet account back in NZ while he was serving in Afghanistan. The decisions highlighted problems with the sweeping, heavy-handed Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act, which makes an account holder - including an employer, school or hotel - responsible for the actions of a rogue individual, and puts the burden of proof on the accused.

46. Telecom, Vodafone, Telstra coinvest in Auckland-Sydney cable
47. Mega IPO chat reveals Hong Kong twist
48. The John and Kim show; other GCSB oral submission highlights
49. Lance Wiggs, PwC man break cover with capital management company
50. Cost of GCSB Bill could be hundreds of millions in lost opportunity for NZ ICT industry

FACE-OFF: The PM during his July select committee stoush with Kim Dotcom. The government was able to pass the GCSB and TICS Bills as ACT and UnitedFuture ignored arguments from privacy advocates and liberterians, and industry concerns the two spy bills would be impractical and expensive to implement.

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The top rating technology stories of 2013