The Biggest Tech Stories of '07 -- and '08


This past year was a busy one for tech, marked most notably by:
-Apple's iPhone release
-Halo 3
-the ongoing console wars (will Nintendo's Wii conquer all?)
-HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray
-Google's new mobile strategy
-Intel's surge at AMD's expense
-all things wireless
-Oracle and Microsoft's blockbuster earnings
-Yahoo's CEO shakeup
-VMWare's IPO
-the ongoing shake-up at Dell
-Gregory Reyes' stock-options backdating conviction
-and, of course, my favorite: Star Wars celebrating its 30th anniversary.

And while we say goodbye to those headlines, the stories themselves are not going away any time soon. The year ends Monday -- but Tuesday launches an incredibly busy January for technology.

The huge Consumer Electronics Show kicks off Jan. 6 with Bill Gates and his anticipated keynote address.

We've seen him unveil tablet PCs, the home and office of the future, tabletop computers and smart furniture. Some came to fruition, many did not. Will he use this opportunity to build on Xbox's incredible momentum and finally take the wraps off a mobile version?

Whatever the case, Gates' speech will usher in the biggest CES to date and continue the surge we've seen in all kinds of consumer electronics this past holiday shopping season.

I'm expecting big news from Intel , Microsoft , even LucasArts.

I'm hearing of price breaks coming for Samsung's dual HD-DVD/Blu-ray player, which may become the product of the year if the company can price it right, since the technology could eliminate the format wars preventing the next-generation technology from capturing more than the 2 percent of the market it has today. Stay with us: we'll bring you unprecedented coverage of the event across all NBC properties.
(For your notes, that includes NBC TV, MSNBC and us here at CNBC, not to mention iVillage and NBC Universal's recently-acquired Oxygen network.)

And just when we're ready to catch our breath after a week of exhaustive coverage, we'll re-position for Macworld in San Francisco the following week.

Steve Jobs -- recently christened "CNBC's Face of Business for 2007" -- takes to the stage Tuesday, Jan. 15.

I expect news on Apple's new subnotebook computer; an iPhone sales update; possibly news on a new iTunes rental store; and possibly a move to re-name the iTunes website itself to reflect more accurately Apple's move into all things digital entertainment. (Remember when Apple Computer changed its name to Apple? Kinda like that.)

From there, a few days rest and then the earnings flood begins the third week of January. We'll get numbers from Intel, Yahoo, AMD , Apple, eBay, Google, Microsoft, Motorola, and many others. We'll know then just how good this holiday shopping season truly was -- or whether hype eclipsed hope when it comes to some of these stock prices.

At about the same time, the Federal Communications Commission will commence its spread-spectrum auction, which could command upwards of $14 billion for what's widely seen as the last, best piece of wireless real estate out there. We know the major wireless carriers will be there, checkbooks in hand; Google will be there, too.

There're rumblings that EchoStar Communications and billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen will also be making bids. The auction could last for weeks, but everyone will be watching that first day to see if they can glean any trends from the initial action.

And that's just January! I wish all of you a terrific, prosperous, healthy, happy New Year. Thanks for reading this and writing in. I hope you continue doing so in 2008.

Questions? Comments?