Home Weekly Wrapup: 2009 Web Predictions, iTunes Drops DRM, Twitter Security Scare, And More…

Weekly Wrapup: 2009 Web Predictions, iTunes Drops DRM, Twitter Security Scare, And More…

Welcome to the first Weekly Wrapup of 2009 – and a very happy new year to all of our readers! First up we look back at our top web products of 2008, then we look forward to 2009 with our annual Web Predictions. In product news this week, Apple announced it will remove DRM from iTunes, Twitter had a major security scare, and we spotted some Semantic Web technology in Google search results. In the first RWW Live of 2009 we discussed how startups can survive in a down economy, Alex Iskold wrote about the growing importance of the digital world, and we looked at a report showing Apple’s dominance of the Mobile Web. Also check the latest in our Enterprise Channel and Jobwire, our new product which tracks hires in tech and new media.

Web Products

2008 Year in Review

In case you missed our 2008 Year in Review series in December, here’s a re-cap of the posts we did — and you can find these and other top stories in our Best of ReadWriteWeb page.

The Top 100 Products of 2008 was comprised of the following 10 lists:

That was 2008, let’s now turn our attention to 2009…

2009 Web Predictions

At the beginning of the new year, we posted our annual predictions post, in which the ReadWriteWeb authors look forward to what 2009 might bring in the world of Web technology and new media.

check out our predictions for ’09 and please contribute your own in the comments to that post.

iTunes Goes DRM Free

The first week of January is Macworld time. While this year’s conference had no major product announcements, Apple announced that by the end of this quarter, all 10 million songs available on iTunes will be DRM free [Digital Rights Management]. As of today, 8 million songs will be DRM free, with the other 2 million done by end of Q1 09. This is long overdue, especially considering that Steve Jobs wrote an open letter to the music industry in February 2007 asking them to abolish DRM. Since that time, many of Apple’s key competitors have gone DRM free or have significantly loosened the restrictions – Amazon in September 07, Rhapsody in June 08, Yahoo Music in July 08, and Walmart in October 08, to mention just some. So it’s great to see the market leader in online music, Apple, actively killing off DRM too.

Also from Macworld: Apple’s iWork Goes (Partly) Online

Twitter Security Collapses; Obama, Fox and Britney Accounts Hacked

The start of 2009 brought a major security scare for one of 2008’s top web products, Twitter. Days after a wave of phishing attacks fooled thousands of Twitter users, another security hole was found. Obama’s account, unused since election day, sent out an affiliate link to a survey with a gas card prize, Fox News said that “Bill O’Reily is gay” and Britney Spears’ account made a lewd post about her anatomy. Rick Sanchez, the Twitter loving CNN anchor, says he’s “high on crack and might not be coming into work today.” Twitter eventually said that the issue had been resolved, but that users should change their passwords.

Did Google Just Expose Semantic Data in Search Results?

In what appears to us to be a new addition to many Google search results pages, queries about birth dates, family connections and other information are now being responded to with explicitly semantic structured information. Who is Bill Clinton’s wife? What’s the capital city of Oregon? What is Britney Spears’ mother’s name? The answers to these and other factual questions are now displayed above natural search results in Google and the information is structured in the traditional subject-predicate-object format, or “triples,” of semantic web parlance.


A Word from Our Sponsors

We’d like to thank ReadWriteWeb’s sponsors, without whom we couldn’t bring you all these stories every week!

  • Mashery is the leading provider of API management services.
  • Crowd Science gives you detailed visitor demographics.
  • Rackspace provides dedicated server hosting.
  • TaxACT lets you file your taxes online.
  • Babylon is the world’s leading dictionary and translation software.
  • Strands provides real-time recommendations of products.
  • WildApricot is Membership Management Software.
  • DEMO09 is the launchpad for emerging technology.
  • MediaTemple provides hosting for RWW.
  • VisualCV lets you stand out from the crowd when job-hunting.
  • Eurekster is a custom social search portal.
  • SixApart provides our publishing software MT4.

RWW Jobwire

January Kicks Off With Cool Hires in Tech

The economy is depressing but there’s no shortage of cool new individual hires in tech to report already this year. Mozilla, Dell, AOL Sports and some of our favorite startups have picked up new engineers and executives this week. The biggest tech job news of the New Year, though, may be that Lifehacker’s long time editor Gina Trapani announced yesterday that she’s leaving her position.

Check out some of the young year’s first highlights in tech hiring as reported by our site Jobwire below. Jobwire is sponsored by VisualCV, which is a service for job seekers. Jobwire reports on 10 to 15 completed new hires in tech and new media every weekday.


Web Trends

RWW Live: Running a Startup in a Down Economy

In the first RWW Live of 2009, we tackled an issue that is of vital importance to all startups right now – how to navigate through the choppy waters of the current economy. The ReadWriteWeb authors were joined by entrepreneurs from BrightKite and Zoho, two startups that were recognized by ReadWriteWeb in our annual end of the year awards: Zoho won ‘Best Little Co’ and BrightKite won ‘Most Promising Little Co’. In the podcast they had some excellent advice for startups, which you can listen to below and read about in our post-show round-up.

Download MP3

Brave New World: More Digital, Less Physical

Alex Iskold writes: “Yesterday, I was with my wife in the L’Occitane store. The shelves were filled with fragrances, soaps, lotions: all sorts of handcrafted beauty products. It occured to me while looking at the labels that I have no idea how these products were made. I am reasonably versed in chemistry, but the process of manufacturing perfume is not something I know anything about.

In general, I am just not good with physical things, because I am a software person. I’ve always been fascinated by people who can easily make sense of physical objects, because for me it takes a lot of effort even to put together children’s toys. My brain is wired differently, to see patterns in software, not in hardware. But most people are the other way around.”

Report: Apple Dominates the Mobile Web


latest data



, the world’s largest mobile advertising marketplace, shows that Apple now dominates the mobile web in the U.S. with a 48% market share. This growth, interestingly enough, does not just come from the iPhone, but the iPod touch also saw a meteoric rise in usage during the last month. Traffic from the iPod touch to AdMob’s network in the U.S. increased 3.4 times from November to December.



Report: Cloud-Based Email Cheapest Option for Most Companies

A new report from Forrester presents a cost analysis of cloud-based email systems in enterprises, such as Google Apps or Yahoo!’s Zimbra. In the report, Forrester argues that cloud-based email services are cheaper than running email on-premise for all companies with less than 15,000 employees. What’s more, Google Apps is significantly cheaper than both on-premise solutions and other cloud-based email services – even for very large enterprises. This could spell trouble for Microsoft, as we explain in this post.

Email us if you’re interested in writing for ReadWriteWeb’s Enterprise Channel.


That’s a wrap for another week! Enjoy your weekend everyone.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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