It was quite a year for Mark Zuckerberg and crew, whose site added a whopping 200 million users. Now, as they brush off the crumbs of MySpace and other competitors, it's time to look for their next meal. They're very, very hungry.
It's hard to fathom that Apple opened its App Store less than two years ago and already it offers more than 140,000 apps, consumers have downloaded around 3 billion apps, and it generates an estimated $1 billion a year. All that should only grow with the much-anticipated release of the iPad. Meanwhile, Apple's acquisition of music-streaming company Lala and its interest in streaming TV shows suggest the seeds of new revenue in a revamped iTunes. Revenue-wise, it was another fruitful year for Apple--$36.5 billion, a 12% increase from 2008.
Even before the recent launch of its Facebook-like application Buzz, Google was yet again generating plenty of buzz in multiple areas with new products. Once upon a time, it was all about Web search. No more. In 2009, Google introduced its first device, the Nexus One phone, a new collaborative tool called Wave, and a new music service. Meanwhile, in response to Hulu and other sites, YouTube struck deals with studios and networks to add premium content to the world's top online destination for video. At Google, the search for new opportunities and markets is never-ending.
The world's largest retailer took its boldest leap yet in a quest to green its entire operation with a new plan to rate the sustainability of every product it sells. "We've moved quickly on our goals because of the collaborative ways we've been doing it," says SVP of sustainability Matt Kistler. Tapping its 2 million employees, 100,000 global suppliers, and a consortium of NGOs, scientists, and other businesses, Walmart has grown into the world's greenest retailer.
Don't touch that keyboard. Hulu has channeled a seemingly endless trove of TV shows through a Web site more than worthy of broadcast-quality content. A fast, easy-to-use video player. DVR-like controls. A comprehensive search engine for finding specific actors or shows. No wonder Hulu has topped 43 million monthly viewers, streamed more than 6.7 billion videos since its 2008 launch, and become the most popular destination for premium video on the Web. Its desktop application, released last year, raised the bar for laptop viewing, with remote control functionality. The next test?