The 15 Biggest Stories In Tech This Year

marissa mayer, serious, impatient, gesturing

Photo: OLIVER LANG/Getty Images

This year, there were billion-dollar acquisitions, IPOs, and executive shakeups among the top tech companies.Here are the 15 biggest moments that shaped tech in 2012.

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14. The SOPA and PIPA bills, which wanted to stop online piracy but also would have killed a lot of web companies, were pulled.

13. Google's self-driving cars became legal in a few states. And Google really pushed Google Glass.

12. Apple released the iPad Mini and the iPhone 5

11. The Series A crunch became real. Now it's harder for startups to get funded. Investors fell out of love with the consumer web, and Paul Graham shrunk the size of his Y Combinator class.

10. Groupon had severe layoffs and its CEO, Andrew Mason, was nearly fired. Between LivingSocial and Groupon, there were about 1,000 layoffs in the daily deals space this year.

9. In December 2011 Zynga went public at a $7 billion valuation. In 2012 it collapsed. It purchased OMGPOP for about $200 million only to realise its hit game, Draw Something, was a fad. Now its valuation is under $2 billion.

8. The patent wars heated up between Samsung and Apple. Apple won the $1 billion judgement, but that doesn't mean it will win the appeal.

7. Microsoft released Windows 8 and the Surface. The Surface was particularly significant, because Microsoft had never made a PC before.

6. Samsung shot to the top of tech this year, and its Galaxy products have proven to be popular iPhone substitutes.

5. Steven Sinofsky was fired by Steve Ballmer two weeks after the Windows 8 launch.

4. In April, Facebook acquired Instagram for ~ $1 billion

3. In July, Marissa Mayer resigned from Google and became CEO of Yahoo

2. Scott Forstall, who was often said to be Apple's CEO-in-waiting, was fired because the rest of the company's executives didn't like him.

1. Facebook went public in May, and it could have gone a lot better.

Now check out the most significant moments on the east coast:

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