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Tech's 2021 Year in Review

Billionaires fought for space travel supremacy, Apple faced antitrust lawsuits, and Frances Haugen spilled the tea about Facebook. Plus, we obsessed over crypto, NFTs and the metaverse, and we can't forget about all the new gadgets we wanted to get this year. Here's a roundup of the biggest themes that defined the tech world in 2021.

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Tech's 2021 Year in Review
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    Blockchain, Bitcoin, NFTs and DAOs

    Tech's 2021: Blockchain, Bitcoin, NFTs and DAOs

    Tech's 2021: Blockchain, Bitcoin, NFTs and DAOs

    By The Tech Desk

    Cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens and everything decentralized defined much of tech's year. In fact, NFTs were so popular in the news that it's Collins Dictionary's Word of the Year. Not to be outdone, Bitcoin saw its value skyrocket to as high as $68,000 for the first time, and crypto investors banded together in an effort to buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution. Look back at the wild year in the world of Web3 and what lies ahead.

    The Gadgets and Gear We Wanted

    Tech 2021: The Gadgets We Wanted

    Tech 2021: The Gadgets We Wanted

    Apple iPhones, Google Pixels, iPads, laptops, earbuds and televisions are just some of the new electronic devices announced this year. Take a look at the ones that made us open up our wallets, from the iPhone 13 to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, the DJI Mavic 3 drone, and the Nintendo Switch with an OLED display. Which one have you been craving?

    The Biggest Cyberattacks of the Year

    Tech 2021: The Biggest Ransomware and Cyberattacks

    Tech 2021: The Biggest Ransomware and Cyberattacks

    Last year ended with the U.S. dealing with the consequences of the SolarWinds hack in which multiple federal agencies and private businesses were infiltrated. This year, more ransomware and cyberattacks were made, including on a major U.S. oil pipeline, a leading IT software provider, and even on makers of COVID-19 vaccines. A bombshell report also revealed some nations were using spyware to surveil world leaders, journalists and pro-democracy activists. Learn about how secure we were in 2021.

    Apple's Antitrust Woes

    Tech 2021: The Antitrust Bogeyman Comes For Apple

    Tech 2021: The Antitrust Bogeyman Comes For Apple

    Facebook and Google have been targets of monopolistic probes for years, but Apple joined the club this year. The iPhone maker in 2021 ended lawsuits brought against it by developers over how it runs the App Store. It announced a $100 million settlement in one class-action case, and was largely victorious in another involving Epic Games. Regulators from around the world are also paying attention to what Apple's doing. Look back at Apple's growing antitrust problem.

    Another Facebook Scandal

    Tech's 2021: The Facebook Papers

    Tech's 2021: The Facebook Papers

    Mark Zuckerberg's social media company ends the year embroiled in controversy once again. Former employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen shared internal documents suggesting Facebook knew about the damage it was causing on people's mental health and on society as a whole, but did little to stop it. The so-called "Facebook Papers" presented an eye-opening look inside the Silicon Valley company, especially as it sets sights on dominating the metaverse.

    Commercial Space Travel Heats Up

    Tech 2021: The Race to Privatize Outer Space

    Tech 2021: The Race to Privatize Outer Space

    In 2020, Elon Musk's SpaceX was the first commercial company to launch a crewed rocket from U.S. soil to the International Space Station. The firm would go on to launch more missions, ushering a new age in space flight. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin followed suit, though those were merely short moments in Earth's orbit. Look back at all the space drama, plus how these efforts rekindled humanity's interest in the stars.

    Our Obsession With the Metaverse

    Tech 2021: Into the Metaverse We Go

    Tech 2021: Into the Metaverse We Go

    Though more companies embraced mixed reality this year, Facebook was perhaps the most prominent. The company went as so far as to rebrand itself to show it was more than a social media platform. But amid all the hype, experts say the real metaverse won't be reality for some time. Take a look at how Mark Zuckerberg, along with Microsoft's Satya Nadella, Epic Games' Tim Sweeney, and others see the technology's future and its impact on how we interact online.

    China Cracks Down on Tech Companies

    Tech 2021: China Cracks Down on Data Sharing, Cryptocurrency, Gaming and More

    Tech 2021: China Cracks Down on Data Sharing, Cryptocurrency, Gaming and More

    Beijing spent the year enforcing new policies against tech firms within its borders, forcing Didi, Tencent, Alibaba and others to reorganize their businesses to appease regulators. Chinese President Xi Jinping's administration also moved to ban cryptocurrency mining, instituted stricter rules around how companies can deploy algorithms, and even mandated how long kids can play video games. The year-long effort so far has changed how business is carried out in China.

    Tech Workers Fight to Unionize

    Tech 2021: Workers Fight to Unionize

    Tech 2021: Workers Fight to Unionize

    Employees at some of tech's biggest companies spent the year trying to enact collective bargaining efforts in an effort to improve working conditions. While unionization efforts by Amazon workers at an Alabama-area warehouse received most of the attention with lawmakers and others chiming in, Google, Instacart, HelloFresh, and Activision-Blizzard all made headlines in 2021 dealing with organized labor.

    Amazon's Jeff Bezos Steps Down

    Tech 2021: A Changing of the Guard at Amazon

    Tech 2021: A Changing of the Guard at Amazon

    After nearly three decades, the online marketplace has a new leader. Jeff Bezos stepped down in the middle of this year to pursue other ventures, namely his efforts to fly to space and help curb climate change. Though he's not the only founder to have left a company this year, the departure of one of the world's wealthiest is something of note. Take a look back at Bezos' resignation and what he's doing now.

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