Tech's Top Trends for 2004

Yes, it will be a better year, especially for consumers, overseas telecoms, and China -- which will become ever-more important

In 2003, the tech industry hit bottom and bumped through yet another bad year. Microsoft's (MSFT ) legal woes continued as a new wave of legal disputes hit the software giant. Big corporations kept their wallets largely closed to new tech spending even though their profits and margins rose smartly as the year progressed. Database king Oracle (ORCL ) had another subpar year as new licenses for its products kept falling. And a series of worms and viruses -- most notably the Slammer worm -- crippled large swathes of Corporate America for days on end.

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