The jury decided in Apple's favor, awarding the company just over $1 billion in damages. But the case is far from over. Lawyers for both sides will continue bickering over potential appeals for months and possibly years to come.
Facebook's botched IPO
It was the most anticipated IPO of the year, and one of the largest ever for a tech company. Social-media darling Facebook looked primed for a big public opening: The company was valued at $104 billion, snapped up popular photo-sharing app Instagram and was still growing.
But then an array of problems and misjudgments led to a botched IPO in May, and the company's stock plummeted. The initial offer price of $38 was too high, too many shares were issued, its opening day was marred by Nasdaq's technical glitches, and underwriter Morgan Stanley was fined for improperly influencing share sales.
The stock price dropped significantly, hitting a low of $17.55 on September 4. Facebook is still struggling to recover some of its early-2012 luster.
The Instagram boom
Instagram started out scrappy two years ago as a fun little app for sharing sepia-shaded photos with friends. But when its user base skyrocketed, Facebook bought it for $1 billion in cash and shares of Facebook stock. That amount later dropped to $735 million as the value of Facebook shares plummeted.
By September, Instagram had more than 100 million users. The app capped off its big year with a rite of passage for social networks: a bungled update to its terms of service that sparked user outrage and led to a hasty backtrack by founder Kevin Systrom.
Instagram's challenge for 2013 is to figure out how to grow its free service into a business that makes money so that Facebook can begin to get its money's worth.
Megaupload and Kim Dotcom
The Megaupload case would have been mildly interesting on its own. A popular file-sharing company and its various sites were shut down by the F.B.I for piracy. But when Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom was arrested in January at his lavish New Zealand estate, he went from unknown entrepreneur to a flamboyantly rich cult hero.
Dotcom (he legally changed his last name from Schmitz in 2005) did what any self-respecting boy video-game nerd would do with millions of dollars. He bought a yacht, helicopter, luxury cars and motorcycles. He lived with his model wife in a $24 million rented mansion in New Zealand where he spent hours playing "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3," earning a spot as the top-ranked player in the world.
But after Dotcom was jailed and his assets were seized, he slowly emerged as a leader for Internet freedom activists who thought he was unfairly targeted. He's still fighting the charges and using his newfound fame to launch new projects. His current plans include a new file-sharing site that encrypts all its files, and a streaming music service called Megabox.
Mid-sized tablets take off
It was the rare case of Apple following a trend instead of setting it. Apple introduced its 7.9-inch iPad Mini in October to take on its new rivals in the tablet market: cheaper 7-inch devices from Google and Amazon. While the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 were only selling modestly compared to the iPad, Apple quickly recognized the growing demand for a smaller, more portable device.
The iPad Mini proved especially notable because Apple's late CEO, Steve Jobs, famously stated a 7-inch tablet would never make it in the market because it was "too big to compete with a smartphone; too small to compete with an iPad." This may have been one of those rare cases in which Jobs was wrong.
Nintendo launches Wii U
In November, Nintendo released a new version of its popular Wii game console, which while groundbreaking when launched in 2006 was badly in need of a refresh.
The Wii U's most novel feature is a touchscreen tablet controller called a GamePad, which communicates with the main console. Inside the tablet are motion control sensors, speakers, a camera, buttons and other bells and whistles -- all of which the gamer uses to interact with what's happening on the larger screen.
It's a bold move for the company and brings a new perspective to console gaming, although the Wii U has received mixed reviews so far.
Yahoo hires Marissa Mayer
Aging Internet giant Yahoo was facing slumping revenues and internal strife in July when it hired Google exec Marissa Mayer as its new chief executive. The hire made headlines for many reasons: Mayer was young, well known in Silicon Valley and a photogenic woman who was expecting her first child.
There was much media hand-wringing over her pregnancy, with some pundits wondering aloud whether Mayer could juggle a newborn baby and a demanding new job. Others saw her as a role model for working mothers.
But when the news settled, the real question returned: Could Mayer save the floundering Yahoo? So far she has shaken up Yahoo's executive team, given employee morale a much-needed boost and begun to improve the company's mobile offerings, including a stunning new Flickr app.
It will take a while to properly gauge her impact, but investors seem optimistic. Yahoo's stock price has risen $4 a share since her hiring was announced.