From Amazon to Zillow, big successes to surprising failures, it was an extraordinary year for technology and innovation emerging from and impacting Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. That’s our consensus after we independently compiled our own lists of the biggest stories of the year, then compared notes.
Many common themes emerged, including companies looking to reinvent themselves, the sudden failure of several high-profile tech startups, surprising acquisitions, a successful IPO, world-changing innovations, and alarming tech problems that imperiled privacy and put lives at risk. Microsoft continued its resurgence, Amazon survived one of the most tumultuous years in its history, and tech giants reshaped communities across the region and the country.
Of course, that’s just the start. Listen above, or subscribe to GeekWire in your favorite podcast app, and continue reading for the stories on our collective list.
— GeekWire co-founders John Cook and Todd Bishop
- Salesforce to buy Tableau for $15.7B, betting on business data in deal for Seattle tech mainstay
- How a stealthy insurance tech startup bootstrapped its way to a $2.35B acquisition in less than 4 years
- Adaptive Biotechnologies files for $230M IPO, banking on big Microsoft and Genentech deals
- Convoy raises $400M at $2.7B valuation amid trucking recession and Uber Freight competition
- In IPO filing, Uber calls out Seattle and warns ‘regulatory risks’ in big cities could impact business
- Slack calls out Microsoft as its ‘primary competitor’ in IPO filing in nod to rival’s collaboration tools
- F5 Networks acquires NGINX and Shape Security for a total of nearly $1.7 billion.
Failures and flame-outs
- How high-profile online beauty brand Julep went from acquisition to bankruptcy in 2 years
- What brought down Boeing’s CEO — and what the next CEO will need to do to bring Boeing back
- Scientific wellness startup Arivale closes abruptly in ‘tragic’ end to vision to transform personal health
- Headphone maker Human cuts majority of staff, including execs, seeks buyer 3 weeks after launch
- What happened to Vicis: Inside the collapse of the high-tech helmet maker, as board decides its fate
- Car2gone: Share Now to exit North America, leaving Seattle with no free-floating car-sharing service
- Expedia CEO and CFO resign in surprise shakeup, as Barry Diller asserts control over travel giant
- How the WeWork saga is forcing startup investors ‘to look around the curtain’
Amazon’s eventful year
- In stunning reversal, Amazon drops plans for HQ2 in New York City in the face of growing backlash
- Amazon’s $1.45M fails to upend Seattle City Council
- Tech industry’s password problems come home to roost with Ring security camera hacks
- Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos finalize divorce; Amazon CEO keeps 75% of couple’s stock
- Amazon to shut down its Amazon Restaurants business in the U.S.
- Elizabeth Warren’s bold plan to break up Amazon, Facebook and Google would unwind major acquisitions
- Amazon fires back at Joe Biden on Twitter over corporate taxes: ‘We pay every penny we owe’
- Amazon Web Services CEO cites ‘significant political interference’ from Trump in JEDI contract
- Amazon and Capital One face legal backlash after massive hack affects 106M customers
Tech giants expand
- Exclusive: Amazon moving thousands of employees out of Seattle, relocating key division to nearby city
- Apple to unveil details of massive Seattle expansion at big new office complex in Amazon’s backyard
- Facebook lands another huge office lease in Bellevue as part of Seattle-area expansion
- Reason for Hope: Company backed by Bill Gates claims solar breakthrough, looks to replace fossil fuels in industrial plants
- Still unfolding: Federal trial for T-Mobile-Sprint merger begins with future of U.S. wireless industry at stake
- Forensic genealogy: 52 years after Seattle woman was killed, police use family DNA and latest science to identify the killer
- Notable partnership: Microsoft has finally found its smartphone: Why the Samsung Galaxy partnership is so promising
- Oddball story of the year: Billions served: Bill Gates photographed standing in line for a burger at Dick’s Drive-In in Seattle
Thanks for reading and listening! What did we miss? Let us know.
Check GeekWire next week for year-end analysis of areas including startups, space and science, plus the year in pictures.