2013 was another banner year for the technology industry, but not such a good year for the National Security Agency. There were many major technology stories and big headlines in 2013, including some big tech name IPOs and blockbuster product introductions, but one story clearly outshone them all and is still unfolding today.
Top 2013 technology stories
1. Edward Snowden NSA Leaks — The story about former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposing highly confidential government programs designed to collect huge amounts of data about the cell phone calls and Internet activities of Americans, foreign citizens and foreign governments first broke in June. The leaked documents were published in the Guardian, and provoked a storm of protest both domestically and internationally. Congressional hearings were eventually held, and in the aftermath, the NSA has supposedly significantly revised its data collection protocols.
2. Apple’s Dominance — Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stayed on top of the tech world in 2013 with just more of the same. During the last 12 months the company provided expected updates to its iPhone and iPad lines, miniaturizing and speeding up the devices, as well as introducing a couple of flashy new features. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) also introduced the new iOS 7 mobile operating system in 2013. Aside from a few initial hiccups like too fast a zoom for some people,the new, slimmed down OS was widely lauded by critics and consumers.
4. Twitter IPO — Unlike fellow tech giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s IPO back in 2012, Twitter’s initial public offering was very well received by the markets, and the equity has continued to perform well over the last few months. The IPO was priced at $26, and the stock rocketed up 93% on the first day of trading to close at $44.90. Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is trading at around $68 today, a gain of more than 250% since the November 7 IPO.
5. Bitcoin Mania — The virtual currency bitcoin also surged in popularity and price in 2013. Bitcoins can only be “mined” by solving complex math problems, and only a finite number will ever be produced. The limited supply of bitcoins, plus the fact that they can be acquired and spent anonymously, has made them very attractive to a broad spectrum of people. A few businesses have also begun accepting bitcoins. Bitcoin prices have increased dramatically in 2013, starting the year at $13 each, peaking at over $1,200 and trading at around 700 each today.