2012 certainly seemed to be near-apocalyptic for some technology companies. While Apple, Google, and Samsung had a great year, other firms that were once the pillars of the technology industry seemed to teeter. And members of the last decade’s Web 2.0 bubble rapidly deflated.

The gap between the winners and the losers of the current tech market is widening: Apple’s market capitalization alone is more than those of the top five PC manufacturers combined; Google is worth 10 Yahoos. With economic uncertainties still lingering and the pie continuing to shrink for the also-rans, the coming year may prove one where natural selection thins the herd.

Some of the companies that flirted with death in 2012 might be primed for a comeback. RIM has emerged as a smaller, leaner, but still unprofitable company, with its future staked on one big bet: the BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system. Thanks to cost cutting (and huge staff cuts), RIM can stay alive even if BB10 doesn’t take the world by storm—but the company does have to stem the loss of corporate customers for its messaging and e-mail services. Depending on how early 2013 plays out for RIM, the company could retake a comfortable third position in the smartphone market, or it could end up licensing the OS to others and getting out of manufacturing entirely. Barring an acquisition, RIM will likely make it out of 2013 alive.

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via Ars Technica » Technology Lab http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/technology-lab/~3/QmFJd-N0lKw/