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Surprise, Surprise!

Like surprises? You must have loved 2004. First there was the wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl. Then we found out there weren't any WMDs after all. Then the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. Who'd a thunk?

The IT industry pulled a few rabbits out if its hat as well. Here are the biggest surprises in five major industry sectors.


Oracle And PeopleSoft Sealed The Deal Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's world got a little bigger when Oracle finally acquired its rival, PeopleSoft. Now that Larry has gotten what he asked for, let's see how much he really likes it.

IBM Quit The PC Business Hey, companies drop underproducing business lines every day, but IBM invented the widescale personal-computer business. No more, though: Your "IBM" computer will now be coming to you courtesy of a Chinese company, Lenovo (in this case, truly "the new"), which instantly becomes No. 4 in worldwide market share.

Google Went Dutch Google's long-anticipated IPO hit some bumps, along the way, but became a reality on August 19th in an unconventional modified Dutch auction. Who said the Internet was dead?

Apple Made A Play For The Enterprise When Apple introduced a line of high-performance servers in January, clearly pitched at the enterprise market, much of the business wondered, "Apple? Enterprise?!?!?" But indeed, the company is making some forays into non-traditional (for it) sectors that leverage its OS X platform for business--supercomputing is another area. And to think we all thought Apple was just a music-gadget maker.

Linux Gained Stature In The Enterprise. . . . .and around the world in various city and state governments. Open source, in general, gained momentum with the Firefox browser and others taking market share from Microsoft's dominant—but flawed—Internet Explorer browser. Also, Sun announced it would open source Solaris, while Novell turned its fortunes around with its Linux move, including buying SuSE.

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