Movers and shakers of 2011

CIOL Bureau
Updated On
New Update

BANGALORE, INDIA: It was a year full of surprises and shock, replete with splendid and sad events of varying degrees on the technology arena.


Although as much is expected at the beginning of every calendar year, in any area, 2011 threw up its share of newsmakers that wouldn't fade away from our memories for years to come. If you swear by Apple, maybe for ever.

If instances outlined the growing impact of technology in human lives, zeitgeist were the many faces that made them happen, wilfully or otherwise.

Any attempt to handpick the 'best' ones among them would fall woefully short of expectations, for they brought out a range of emotions among even the hard nuts.


Here, CIOL draws out a list of personalities and developments that defined some, who left a lasting impression in us and, in all likelihood, may have ramifications in future as well.

Jobs no more

Steve Jobs's demise, to many, was end of an era.  When the Apple Inc. co-founder lost his battle against a pancreatic tumor on October 5, the news left many aghast.


An innovator par excellence, Jobs redefined many aspects and dared to deviate from accepted norms in the world of technology, right from Mackintosh personal computers down to the latest iPad and iPhone.

That he had endeared himself to global citizens was proved beyond doubt, as about 1 million paid tributes to him on a memorial page on Apple's website.

Jobs's legacy would be carried over to the future generations by his authorized biography penned by Walter Isaacson.


Bartz firing

All was not well in Yahoo! this year, going by the unceremonious exit of then CEO Carol Bartz.

She was fired over the telephone in September, as the company went ahead with its restructuring plans.


Bartz, however, beat some predictions for her to have an exit earlier than happened. As it turned out ultimately, the Yahoo! Management was not amused after failing to dominate the advertising and content markets and handing over its search operations to Microsoft Corp.

"I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward," she remarked at the end of her tumultuous tenure.



The 'Mistry' man

Nobody in recent Indian history would have been a mystery as this anointed man to head the most revered business empire of the country.

Cyrus Mistry was named the successor to Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata in November. He became the first man outside the Tatas' family to be handed over the coveted post.


Prior to his appointment, Mistry was the managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji, owned by his father Pallonji Mistry. Incidentally, Shapoorji Pallonji is the largest shareholder in Tata Sons, which helped people piece together the jigsaw.

Sibal scare

Communications & IT minister Kapil Sibal always had his way with words, controversial and otherwise.

He stirred up a hornets' nest when he stated that social networking sites had to screen the content on their sites. "We have to take care of the sensibilities of our people. Cultural ethos is very important to us."

While maintaining that the government was against censorship, he said that the U.S. laws could not be applied to India.

The stand, however, didn't go down well with those fighting for freedom of expression in a democracy like India.

NRN out, Kamath in

Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy relinquished his position in line with the company policy when he turned 65 this August. The move was intended to make way for the next generation of leaders  to take over the mantle.

So, while NRN continues to be chairman emeritus, former ICICI Bank chairman K.V. Kamath replaced him as the chairman.

As a part of the leadership succession, S.D. Shibulal became chief executive officer and managing director of the company with a market capitalization of Rs. 1,53,000 crore. It is also the second-largest software exporter from India.

Zuckerberg in rival camp

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg knows how to make headlines even when seemingly endorsing a potential competitor.

About a week after Google launched its brand-new social network, Google+, Zuckerberg jumped on the bandwagon.

At that point, it raised several eyebrows that those who added him in their Circles far exceeded the numbers of Google chief executive officer Larry Page.

Since then, the initial surge has sort of evened out with Page now boasting 1,006,490 followers to Zuckerberg's 6,17,302. But then, so is the clamour to be a 'privileged' member of Google+.


Kurien cure

In another major reshuffle in the Indian IT industry, Wipro Technologies appointed T.K. Kurien as chief executive officer of its IT business, replacing Girish Paranjpe and Suresh Vaswani. Kurien also serves as executive director on the company's board.

The company with comparatively less impressive performance over the past few quarters than its competitors hopes the restructuring move would pay rich dividends.

At least, its founder Azim Premji is highly confident of Kurien and co.'s ability to bring about a turnaround.

'Black' magic

When American pop singer, Rebecca Black, released a video about Friday on YouTube early this year, least would she have imagined the rage it would go on to become.

A precursor to its Indian cousin, Why This Kolaveri Di?, the song by the teenager went viral on the video sharing site to amass around 167 million views.

After it got removed by the site following international uproar about the quality of the song, Black launched it again on her own channel.

Winklevosses hoodwinked?

In another case related to Zuckerberg, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were in for more agony in a lawsuit against Facebook for stealing their idea.

In October,  New York’s Appellate Division, First Department, dismissed an appeal made by the brothers in 2010 to reverse the decision awarding their law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan a $13 million contingency fee.

Only three months before that, the duo filed yet another case against the famous social networking site with the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. It was to probe and confirm whether Zuckerberg intentionally or inadvertently suppressed evidence.

Soota's smiles

Former MindTree Chairman Ashok Soota launched his new venture, Happiest Minds Technologies Private Limited, on August 29.

Positioned as a new generation IT services company, Happiest Minds will offer services and solutions in new, emerging technologies, such as cloud computing, social media, mobility, analytics and security.

"The shifting technology landscape provides opportunities and an entry strategy for new players like Happiest Minds. These new technologies enable IT to become more for transformational enterprises and measurable in terms of its business impact," said the executive chairman at the launch.

He wants to make the company achieve a sales target of $100 million worth of sales within five fiscal years and become a global player.