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The Tech Investor Thanksgiving List
My annual list of things investors can cheer about tomorrow around the dinner table.
November 24, 2004: 2:34 PM EST
By Eric Hellweg, CNN/Money contributing columnist

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BOSTON (CNN/Money) - Pundits are predicting that this year's Thanksgiving travel will be the thickest in four years. Here's hoping you made it to your destination safely and on time (if that's a good thing when you're visiting your in-laws).

Right about now you're probably girding your system for an expected gluttony of tryptophan and football. Pass the remote!

Here in Tech Investor Land, each year we compile a list of what we're thankful for in our corner of the world. And 2004 has given us quite a bit to consider in counting our blessings. Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for in 2004.

Scaring the Monopolists Who'd have thought that the browser wars -- all but over in 1997 -- would reignite in 2004?

Well, they have, and in a big way, thanks to the release of Firefox, a new browser from Mozilla. Less than three weeks after its official debut, Firefox has already caused some damage to Microsoft's Internet Explorer market share, which is dropping below 90 percent, according to research firm OneStat.

If you don't think this movement has legs, look for the full-page ad that Firefox fans are buying in the New York Times in December. While we're not rooting against Microsoft, we're thankful that an alternative has emerged that may force Redmond to address its most serious security flaws.

An Apple a Day Apple -- and Pixar -- investors should be thankful to Steve Jobs's physician for discovering Jobs's pancreatic cancer in the early stages, allowing him to return to work quickly.

Is there a hotter man in business today? Apple's stock is at a four-year high, and Pixar's The Incredibles has already raked in almost $200 million at the box office.

Grand Openings This was the year in which IPOs roared back in force, with a small search company called Google leading the way in the technology space.

It's almost gotten to the point where "if a company has an IPO, it will do well," says Tom Taulli, co-founder of CurrentOfferings.com. Taulli also notes that after three years of hibernation, "day-traders are back," which makes for a more interesting stock market: bigger jumps on the good news and bigger falls on the disappointing items. Not that we should be thankful for that.

Speaking of Keeping It Interesting Many of our preconceived notions were proven wrong in 2004. Intel can stumble, for instance, and digital music can be sold legitimately online. That's a great thing about following this space: It's never boring.

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Taking It With You As a frequent traveler and workaholic, I'm thankful for the growth of Wi-Fi access, both in commercial spaces such as Starbucks and in neighborhoods like mine.

Wi-Fi will continue to be a huge growth market for the foreseeable future, and with its terrific margins, I look forward to watching companies incorporate more Wi-Fi offerings into their revenue mixes.


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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.