Techmeme's biggest (i.e. tallest) stories of 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012 2:03PM ET
by Gabe Rivera (@gaberivera)     Permalink

Now that we've examined the year's trending terms, our final retrospectacular tour of 2012 examines the stories themselves. On Techmeme, the biggest stories usually become the tallest stories as different angles of reporting and analysis pile up, creating story clusters that can run several screen lengths. Last year we examined the tallest clusters to review 2011, and we'll now cement this exercise as a tradition by doing the same for 2012.

The results: The table below lists the year's story clusters with 10 or more headlines, ordered by number of headlines. It's important to understand that each headline shown here is just the one that happened to be the leading headline when its cluster reached the maximal size. So these headlines don't always indicate the most representative story of the bunch, the best summary, or the most cited story. Clicking through to peruse the full cluster is the best way to understand the coverage each link represents.

What do we see? The stories dominating this list are mainly announcements, often product introductions, from the industry's largest firms, often Apple. Apple's pervasiveness here should come as no surprise; its products affect nearly the entire industry in a profound way. Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple account for most of the stories on this list.

OK, but what's REALLY going on? While you could interpret this list ten different ways, one point really stands out to me. Never before in this industry have so many of the biggest news stories seemed part of a unified narrative, in which the latest development illuminates and extends our understanding of the previous one. This is, of course, an outgrowth of the megatrend noted in recent years that finds each of the tech titans engaged in a single great conflagration. One Apple keynote can signal increased competition with four other tech giants across a half dozen product fronts, while also revealing new forms of cooperation and integration. If it's a game of chess, where the pieces are hardware, operating systems, app stores, social graphs, developers, and search, then it's a 5-way game of chess. Or maybe a 4-way or 7-way game.

Whatever the operative game analogy may be, we appreciate that you've come to Techmeme for the play-by-play. We've long taken an industry-wide view, from the titans to the startups, plus the ecosystem and rules that bind them all. And we'll be very happy to serve you all the more in 2013. Happy New Year!

Rank Date  Headlines Leading Headline
12/218U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:Form S-1 REGISTRATION STATEMENT — Facebook, Inc.
-3/818Darren Murph / Engadget:Apple new iPad hands-on (update: video!)
-9/1318Apple:Apple Introduces iPhone 5
21/1817Mark Zuckerberg / Facebook:The internet is the most powerful tool
36/1116Dante D'Orazio / The Verge:WWDC 2012 live blog
-6/2116Tom Warren / The Verge:Windows Phone 8 in detail: new Start Screen, multi-core support, VoIP integration, and NFC
410/2415Apple:Apple Introduces iPad mini
51/1914Timothy B. Lee / Ars Technica:PIPA support collapses, with 13 new Senators opposed
-1/2514Apple:Apple Reports First Quarter Results
-6/1914Microsoft Corporation:Microsoft Announces Surface: New Family of PCs for Windows
-9/514Nokia:New Nokia Lumia Range Delivers Latest PureView Camera Innovation
-9/ Takes on the High-End—Introducing the New Kindle Fire HD Family
65/1813Alexei Oreskovic / Reuters:Facebook's debut is modest, high volumes cause problems
-8/2513Mark Gurman / 9to5Mac:Tim Cook tells Apple employees that today's victory ‘is about values’
71/2012Nate Anderson / Ars Technica:Why the feds smashed Megaupload
84/1011Mark Zuckerberg / Facebook:I'm excited to share the news that we've agreed to acquire Instagram
-9/1111Ina Fried / AllThingsD:Zuckerberg: Facebook Stock Drop Is Disappointing; Mobile Strategy Is Misunderstood
-10/2611Apple:Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results
92/1610Apple:Apple Releases OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview with Over 100 New Features
-4/2410Sundar Pichai / The Official Google Blog:Introducing Google Drive... yes, really
-4/2510Apple:Apple Reports Second Quarter Results
-5/3010Ina Fried / AllThingsD:Apple CEO Tim Cook in the Hot Seat at D
-7/1710DealBook:A Yahoo Search Calls Up a Chief From Google
-7/2410Apple:Apple Reports Third Quarter Results
-9/510Adi Robertson / The Verge:Motorola announces Droid RAZR HD with 4.7-inch display
-9/1910Dan Moren / Macworld:Review: Refined iOS 6 highlighted by stunning Maps overhaul
-10/2910Microsoft:Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 8

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