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The Geek Girl 2012 Countdown: The Top 5 Technology Stories of the Year – Microsoft Is Back…Kind Of

Mario Tama, Getty Images

Well, we made it. 2012 is almost come and gone, and we’re all ready to start anew in 2013. But before we dive in to the new year, let’s take a look back at this year. From battling lawsuits to battling legislation, from IPO failures to record successes, it’s been an impressive and newsworthy year for technology in 2012. And that’s why all this week and into next week, I’ll be recapping the Top 5 technology stories of 2012.

2.) Microsoft releases Windows 8 and Surface tablet computers

Ever since Apple came in and became the technology world’s little darling, former tech monarch Microsoft has been struggling to reclaim its top spot. This year, Microsoft’s “master plan” to get back in the tech game kicked off in 2012 with the release of two major products: Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface tablets.

First up, Microsoft released the long-awaited Windows 8 operating system. It’s not so much the next version of Windows 7 as it is a complete overhaul of Windows. Gone are the Start menus and icons of previous versions; it’s all been replaced by large, colorful “tiles” that I can only assume was designed to make it look “cooler” and “hipper.” But one of the biggest selling points of Windows 8 is it’s touch-screen compatibility, which means, in theory anyway, Windows 8 should work just as well on your tablet as it does your home computer.

Speaking of tablets, that brings us to the Surface tablet, Microsoft’s answer to the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Note. So what makes Surface so different? Well, pretty much nothing, save the fact that it only runs Windows 8 or Windows RT and that it has a keyboard and a kickstand to keep it upright.

If this is Microsoft’s big plan to get back in the tech game, I don’t see it working. Windows 8 has sacrificed the safe and familiar layout in an attempt to turn your home computer into a tablet, something that is both impractical and unnecessary. And as for the Surface, it doesn’t know what it is. Is it a new tablet or a really tiny computer? It seems to me that Microsoft is trying to blur the line between tablet computers and home computers, and it’s not working. But I suppose the consumer will be the final judge of how successful Microsoft’s new “direction” really is.

Check back here on Monday as The Geek Girl 2012 Countdown concludes with the top gadget of 2012.

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