Top 10 Biggest Bogus Tech Rumors of 2008

Hollywood gossip mongers have Paris Hilton and Brangelina to spread rumors about. In the tech world, we have Apple-product and Yahoo-merger rumors to mull over. And just as Brad and Angelina didn't split in 2008 (contrary to rumors), neither did Yahoo find someone to hook up with.

Face it, everyone loves a juicy rumor. And thanks to the Internet, 2008 has been a banner year for them. As the year comes to a close, I've put together my top-ten list of the biggest bogus tech rumors of 2008.

Digg was the rumor golden boy in 2008, with either Microsoft or Google rumored to buy the social-bookmarking site. The Internet blogged, Twittered, and Dugg up a storm theorizing on whom Digg founder, Kevin Rose, would end up in bed with. In the end, it was no one.

With over 6788 Diggs for the initial "Google Microsoft Bidding for Digg" story, the rumor appears to have first taken off at the site TechCrunch. The news Web site cited a "very, very good" anonymous source who said that Digg was prepared to take around $300 million from either Microsoft or Google. Many publications picked up on the rumor, including CNet and PC World (and then our own JR Raphael gave 10 reasons why he thought it wouldn't happen).

Digg never validated the rumors. A few months later TechCrunch announced that Google was negotiating with Digg, this time for $200 million. But then, after a few days, Google apparently walked away from the negotiating table, and DigGoogle joined the long list of Digg-acquisition rumors.

I'm glad that the first Google Android phone wasn't delayed until 2009--as it was rumored to be. On the day this rumor hatched, Google's shares dipped 1.3 percent. The word was that HTC, the manufacturer of the T-Mobile G1, was having problems delivering the Google phone on time.

Tales of the GPhone delay started out modest. At first there weren't enough Android developers out there, according to sources. People theorized that Microsoft, Apple, Research In Motion, and Nokia had absorbed all the developers, and so none could be bothered to make Android apps. But the rumor bomb dropped when the Wall Street Journal

announced that the first Android device would not come until the second half of 2009.

In the end though, HTC squashed the rumors, and in late September T-Mobile, Google, and HTC announced that they were on track to deliver the G1 in 2008. The following month, in October, the T-Mobile G1 went on sale for $179.

8. Zune Phone

This image of a fake Zune Phone comes from a YouTube parody of an Apple iPhone ad.The more Microsoft insisted it had no Zune phone in development, the louder the rumors about the device's imminent release became.

Microsoft never gave people any good reason to expect a Zune phone, but from July through December 2008, you could find various reports from The Inquirer and mock-ups from Wired of imagined Zune-phone hybrids. Closer to reality, perhaps, were rumors that the Zune might soon sport a touch screen.

The rumor is still alive and well. Currently, according to sources, the Zune phone will launch in January at CES 2009. Mike Elgan at Computerworld

explains best why that won't really happen (at least not anytime soon): Microsoft "simply doesn't have the vision to build something really great in the consumer electronics space."


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