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The biggest tech battles of 2013

To say that tech enthusiasts are an opinionated bunch would be an understatement.

Just check out the comments made on this website on any given day – our readers are always battling it out with each other, and us, on a wide range of issues.

2013 saw a large number of tech battles being fought, on topics such as iOS 7 and motion sickness, and of course the question of which is the superior console – the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? And naturally some fights, like the battle of the best smartphone maker, have been going on for years.

On the patent front, the ongoing fight between rivals Samsung and Apple showed no signs of abating in 2013. In November, a California jury awarded Apple $290 million (£175 million) in its dispute with Samsung, but the fight isn't over. The companies are now preparing for yet another patent dispute in the same court, which is set to go to trial later this year.

Meanwhile, the long-running patent struggle between Motorola and Microsoft came to an end in September, when a US District Court jury in Seattle awarded Microsoft $14 million (£8.5 million) in damages.

Aside from the patent fights, there was a lot to argue about in 2013 – and here’s our roundup of the top tech scraps of last year.

Dish vs CBS vs CNET

The beginning of 2013 witnessed one of the biggest dramas of the year for the tech and journalism communities. It started when CNET, which was in charge of awarding the "Best of CES," selected the Dish Hopper as the trade show's best gadget. But CBS, CNET's parent company, stepped in and ordered CNET to rescind the award since the company was embroiled in litigation with Dish. CNET editors reluctantly agreed, and the site announced that it would no longer review products from companies that CBS is suing. However, Dish ended up having the last laugh when the CEA overturned CNET's decision and announced that the DVR did in fact win the Best of CES award.


This debate has been raging for years, but really picked up steam in May of 2013 when GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) creator Steve Wilhite weighed in on the matter of the correct pronunciation. His answer: GIF has a soft “G” – but not everyone agrees. Even the White House decreed that GIF gets a "hard G."

Microsoft vs Google

Which search engine is better – Google or Bing? Not surprisingly, Microsoft thinks Bing is superior, and the company became pretty vocal about this last year with its Scroogled campaign. Most recently, the Redmond even went so far as to create merchandise for those who are really into battles between search engines… (see right).

Internet giants vs the government

In the wake of data leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013, top Internet firms made a public push for government surveillance reform, demanding limited user data collection and more transparency, among other things. A number of big-name sites signed up for Global Government Surveillance Reform, including Apple, AOL, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo. Thus far, the US government has only allowed companies to broadly reveal the number of secret government requests they receive, and requires this information to be lumped in with other less sensitive data in ranges of 1,000.

Tesla vs New York Times

This fracas started when Times reporter John Broder took Motor Trends' 2012 Car of the Year on a road trip, piloting the Model S from suburban Washington D.C. to Connecticut in cold winter weather to test Tesla's new East Coast network of fast-charging Supercharger stations. That test drive famously resulted in the Model S being loaded onto a flatbed tow truck after its battery ran out, but Tesla's outspoken CEO Elon Musk quickly fired back at the Times and Broder on Twitter, calling the entire review "fake." The duo went back and forth several more times before Musk eventually revealed that the negative review cost the company roughly $100 million (£60 million).

Syrian Electronic Army vs the media

The pro-Assad hacking group known as the Syrian Electronic Army first emerged in late 2012, when it started attacking Western websites in retaliation for “Innocence of Muslims,” an anti-Islamic video that resulted in violent demonstrations in the Middle East. And in 2013, the group did not let up, targeting the social media accounts and websites of news organisations that they believed were reporting news hostile to the Syrian government, including Thomson Reuters, the Financial Times, The Guardian, the BBC, and even The Onion. In August, they also took the New York Times website offline.