Restructurings, microprocessors and nakedness--literal and otherwise. Those were the themes that dominated the year in stories, as judged by viewer traffic on EETimes.com.
What resonated with readers during the past 12 months was anything that had to do with industry or corporate restructurings; the tectonic shifts taking place in microprocessor design (think multicore) or market share; and things taken off--whether in the form of technology that sees through garments or system-level devices unclothed and examined.
The year 2006 will be remembered as a time when the industry began to consolidate rapidly and when private equity made its presence felt among the largest companies in the business. Thirteen of the top 60 stories were about either tactical corporate moves ("Intel to buy Nvidia?" Oct. 4) or broad industry restructuring questions ("Private equity cracks industry," Sept. 15).
This was the year that Intel restructured, sold off communications and other lines, and laid off thousands. It was the year Atmel CEO George Perlegos endured an ugly divorce with his company, a story that still hasn't played out. And it was the year in which the most popular story told of an anonymous blog that called for "heads to roll" at Microsoft after Vista operating system delays.
Also in 2006, Apple "restructured" the iPod, pushing out PortalPlayer and pulling in Samsung. Those stories and others having to do with MP3 player designs proved popular among readers.
Microprocessor technology and the landscape around it were hot too. Whether it was dual-core or quad-core coverage (February, September and October), AMD gaining on Intel in market or mind share, or ARM core rollouts, stories about the soul of most systems were popular all year long.
Stories that either stripped away systems to reveal their innards, or created interesting images in the mind ("Emerging technology sees through clothing," Nov. 27), were popular too. EE Times has published system teardowns for years, but this year the interest was rising even before our ambitious special report, Under the Hood, was published in December. Three of the top five stories in November were about teardowns: the Sony Playstation 3 (two stories) and the Nintendo Wii.
The shortest top story of the year was posted on June 19 ("Record CCD image sensor has 111 million pixels"), coming in at just three paragraphs.
Eye on Intel
One of 2006's most enterprising stories was also one of the most popular. In June, as questions about Intel's future swirled, Rick Merritt took it upon himself to tell Intel executives just what they should do with their company going forward ("Divining Intel's future," June 12). This was the 10th most-viewed story all year.
What were surprisingly not so hot stories, as far as viewers were concerned, included pieces on offshoring, the stock options scandal and the spying debacle at Hewlett-Packard.
Nevertheless, EE Times' editors decided that some of these were the most important stories of 2006 (see related package on top stories of the year as judged by EE Times editors).