- 1000: The abacus gained widespread acceptance in Europe.
- 1617: John Napier, discoverer of logarithms, invented a calculating
device based on them called
- 1622: William Oughtred invented the slide rule, based on Napier's
work with logarithms. The slide rule is an "analog" computer and served as
the primary computing device for engineers until 1972. Oughtred's was
circular, but here's a straight on by Robert Bissaker (1654).
- 1623: Wilhelm Schickard of Tuebingen, Wuerttemberg (now part of
Germany), produced a 6-digit machine called the "Calculating Clock". It can
add and subtract and indicates overflow by ringing a bell (allowing 7-digit
calculations by counting the overflow). The device was reconstructed in 1960
and found to work.
- 1644: Blaise Pascal created a 5-digit calculator, the "Pascaline",
but it cannot subtract and is more complex than Schickard's machine. Pascal
sold somewhere between 10 and 15 of these machines, some capable of 8 digits.
- 1668: Sir Samuel Morland of England created a non-decimal adding
machine designed to do calculations in English currency.
- 1674: Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz of Leipzig designed the
"Stepped Reckoner" which could handly operands of 5 and 12 digits with
products of up to 16 digits. Unfortunately the carry mechanism sometimes
didn't work right.
- 1770: (or thereabouts) Mathieus Hahn, somewhere in Germany,
produces a successful multiplying calculator.
- 1775: Charles, third Earl of Stanhope, in England, made a
successful multiplying calculator similar to Leibniz's.
- 1786: J. H. Mueller of the Hessian army creates a design for the
type of machine later known as a "difference engine" (see 1842, Babbage and
Ada) which calculates values of a polynomial. Mueller couldn't get it funded
so it wasn't built.
- 1801: The Jaquard loom used an automatic punch card reader to
"program" fabric patterns.
- 1820: The first commercially available calculator, the
Arithmometer, was produced by Charles Xavier Thomas de Colmar of France. The
user dialed numbers with a set of wheels, then pulled a crank to do the
calculation. It could add, subtract, multiply and divide. Machines of this
design were sold for nearly 90 years.
- 1832-1871: Charles Babbage and Ada, Countess of
Lovelace had a lot of fun not quite getting around to completing the
Difference Engine, the first (mechanical) programmable computer. Others
did complete such machines based on their work.
- 1854: George Boole invented Boolean Algebra, the binary logic used
by all digital computers.
- 1884: John H. Patterson founded National Cash Register Comapny
(NCR). NCR's transaction recording devices soon became the scourge of
sales clerks everywhere, forcing them to invent new methods for theft, fraud
and embezzlement. (
- 1885: William Burroughs patented an adding machine and
founded the American Arithmometer Company, which was renamed Boroughs Adding
Machine Company in 1898. Bouroughs entered the computer business in the
- 1886: Dor E. Felt produces the "Comptometer" desk calculator. This
calculator enters numbers by pressing keys rather than turning dials.
- 1889: Dor E. Felt adds a printer to his Comptometer desk calculator.
- 1890: To process information from the 1890 census, Herman Hollerith
invented a system of punch cards (see 1801) sized to fit the currency handling
equipment used in banks, thus setting the dimensions of the data processing
punch card (the dollar was bigger then). This project evolved into the
Tabulating Machine Company, which merged into the
Computing-Tabulating-Recording company in 1911.
- 1903: Nutcase inventor Nikola Tesla patented electrical logic
circuits called "gates" which implemented Boolean Algebra in physical form.
Digital computers are built almost entirely from transistorized versions of
these "logic gates". Other Tesla inventions include the entire AC power
distribution system, florescent lights, high voltage transformers, induction
motors, wireless communications (radio), telephone repeaters and other minor
items, most of which someone else took credit for.
- 1911 June:
Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company was formed by Computing Scale
Company of America, Tabulating Machine Company and International Time
- 1914: Thomas J. Watson took over Computing-Tabulating-Recording
Company and gave it a new mission: "Crush National Cash Register Co."
(NCR had fired Watson).
- 1924: Computing Tabulating Recording Company was renamed
International Business Machines (IBM) by Thomas J. Watson.
- 1935: Konrad Zuse built the relay based Z1 electrical
computer in his parents living room. It was followed by the Z2 in 1938. Zuse
invented the world's first programming language (Plankalkul) for the Z3 in
1946. He reconstructed the Z4 in Switzerland after the war. Because he was on
the wrong side of the war his machines are not counted in the "official"
history of computers (except in Germany). His computer company was absorbed
by Siemans Corporation.
- 1935: The
Manchester Differential Analyser, an analog computer, was completed to
calculate differential equations.
- 1935: IBM produces the IBM 601 punch card based tabulator capable
of doing 1 multiplication per second. 1500 of them were built.
- 1939: Hewlett-Packard Company founded by David Packard and William
Hewlett, headquartered in Hewlett's Palto Alto garage.
- 1939: John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry of Iowa State University
began work on the Atanasoff-Berry computer. Atanasoff was judged by the U.S.
Supreme Court to be the true inventor of the electronic computer (see also
Konrad Zuse, 1935).
- 1940: George Stibitz of Bell Labs developed a digital calculator
from metal strips (from a tobacco can), batteries and flashlight bulbs. This
machine, called the Model I Complex Calculator, was in service for 9 years.
- 1941: John Mauchly and Presper Eckert of the University of
Pennsylvania began construction of an electronic digital computer.
- 1943: Colossus, an electronic digital computer, was built in England
to break German codes.
- 1944: Mark I, the first general purpose digital computer (unless
you count certain others) was built at Harvard under the direction of
Howard Aiken. the Mark I was used by the Navy for ballistic calculations.
- 1945: Navy Leutenent JG Grace Hooper (later Admiral Grace Hooper)
finds a bug (moth) caught in relay contacts of the Mark II computer, causing
a malfunction. This is not the origin of the term "bug" in technology.
The term was mentioned by Thomas Edison in a way implying it had been long in
use then. This may, however, be the first recorded case of a bug being caused
by an actual bug.
- 1946: ENIAC, the first fully electronic digital computer used
18,000 vacuum tubes. J. Presper Eckert Jr and John Mauchly at the University of
- 1947: The Transistor was invented by Walter Brattain and William
- 1948: An Wang invents core memory. This randomly accessable memory
(RAM) is composed of a mesh of wires with little magnetic donuts at the
intersections. This type of memory is "non volitile" (it doesn't go away when
the power is off) and is, in 2001, making a comeback, but on a microscopic
- 1948: John Mauchly and Prsper Eckert found the Eckert-Mauchly
Computer Comapny and start work on UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer).
- 1948: The first computer with memory, the Ferranti Mark I, is
deigned at Manchester University by Frederic Williams and Thomas Kilburn.
- 1948 Fall: IBM produces the "IBM 604", a plugboard programmed
calculator using vacuum tubes.
- 1949-1951: Jay W Foreester and an MIT team construct "Whirlwind" for
the US Navy Reasearch Office. Features are brought on line over a period of
- 1950: The
Ace Pilot Model 1950 was built at the National Physics Laboratory of
England, based on the work of Alan Turing, and was in operation for scientific
calculations for x6 years.
- 1950: Western Electric developed growing large single crystals of
silicon which could be sliced into wafers - the basic bulding material for
- 1951: UNIVAC, the first commercial computer (unless it was
Feranti's) was shipped by Remington Rand. It used mercury delay lines for
memory and reels of magnetic tape for storage. It's first use was to tabulate
the 1950 census results.
- 1951: Feranti Ltd. completes the first commercial computer (unless
it was UNIVAC). It was based on the "Feranti Mark I" but was also known as the
"Manchester Mark II", "MUDC", "MUEDC", and "MADAM". They sold 8 of these even
though the leading expert, Douglas Hartree, had assured them 3 existing
computers would handle all the calculations that would ever be needed in
- 1952: Grace Murray Hooper (U.S. Navy Retired) developed the first
operational compiler. A compiler converts a human written program into
- 1952: IBM enters the computer business with the "701"
- 1952: IBM introduces the first magnetic tape drive for on-line
data storage, the 726. It used 8" diameter reels of tape holding about
1 Megabyte, or the contents of about 12,500 punch cards. IBM was producing 16
Billion punch cards per year in 1952.
- 1953: IBM introduced the 701, its first electronic computer.
- 1957: Control Data formed to produce supercomputers. Seymour Cray
was the designer.
- 1957: Digital Equipment Corp. founded by Keneth Olsen with $70,000.
The leading producer "Minicomputers", DEC became the second largest computer
company in the 1970s. Ken Olsen made the famous statement "There will
never be a use for a computer in the home". Completely missing the PC
revolution, DEC declined and was bought and disbanded by PC maker Compaq in
- 1957: Grace Hooper developed the Flowmatic computer language for
the UNIVAC 1. Flowmatic was the foundation from which COBOL was developed
- 1957: John Backus at IBM developed the
Fortran compiler for the IBM 704.
- 1958: The integrated circuit is invented by Jack St. Clair Kilby of
Texas Instruments, beating Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor who
independently invented one in 1959. Noyce went on to cofound Intel.
- 1959: Grace Hooper and her Codasyl co-workers issue the first
COBOL compiler, a programming language for business use.
- 1960: IBM shiped the 1401, its first transistor based computer.
- 1963: Douglas Engelbart patents the mouse.
- 1964: BASIC computer programing language was developed by John Kemeny
and Thomas Kurtz (no, Bill Gates didn't invent BASIC, sorry).
- 1964: TTL integrated circuits were introduced by TRW.
- 1964: IBM started shipping the 360 line of mainframe computers.
- 1965: Digital Equipment produced the first PDP-8 minicomputer, the
first production computer to use integrated circuits.
- 1965: Work begun at Honeywell on
Multics, the oprating system Unix was derived from.
- 1966: ARPAnet was proposed (the first stirrings of the Internet).
- 1967: IBM built the first floppy disk drives (8" SSSD, 256K).
- 1968: HAL 9000, the computer in the movie "2001: A Space Odessy"
uttered the famous words "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."
- 1969: ARPAnet was launched (the birth of the Internet, and
the IP network protocol).
- 1969: The first version of Unix was written by Ken Thompson and
Dennis Ritchie to run at Bell Labs on a Digitial Equipment PDP-11.
- 1971: Intel introduced the first microprocessor chip, the 4004,
bringing to the world 4-bit power!
- 1972: Hewlett Packard released the HP-35 electronic calculator.
The sliderule was rendered obsolete overnight, and "Reverse Polish Notation"
became the standard for engineering calculators.
- 1973: Xerox demonstrated the Xerox Alto, the first computer to use
a graphical display and mouse pointer.
- 1973: Ethernet was developed by Bob Metcalfe, Butler Lampson,
David Boggs and Chuck Thacker.
- 1974: The TCP part of the TCP/IP protocol stack was proposed
by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn to bring reliable transmission to the Internet.
- 1974: Gary Kildall developed CP/M, the first standard
operating system for microcomputers. CP/M was the operating system
Bill Gates bought a rip-off of to create MS-DOS in 1981.
- 1974: The C programming language was developed by Brian
Kerrighan and Dennis Ritchie.
- 1974 December: The MITS Altair launched the PC
- 1975: Bill Gates and Paul Allen "borrowed" computer time to produce
a rip-off of the BASIC computer language (see 1964) for the MITS Altair. The
product was announced and advertisements placed before work began to keep
others from entering the market. It was expensive, released late, incomplete
and riddled with bugs. When copies were passed around by users trying to come
up with bug fixes (and who were reluctant to spend a lot of money for something
that didn't work), Bill Gates accused them all of "Software Piracy". Thus we
find the tone of Microsoft's ethics, business practices, product quality, and
attitude toward users (they're all thieves) already fully formed in the
first weeks of the company's existance.
- 1975: The world's first retail computer store, Arrow Head Computer
Company, opened in Los Angeles.
- 1976 April: Steve Wosniac and Steve Jobs finished the Apple I
computer and formed the Apple Computer Company.
- 1977: IBM developed the first relational database program.
- 1977: Apple launched the Apple II computer.
- 1977: Commodore exhibited the PET computer.
- 1977: Radio Shack shipped the first TRS-80 Model I, launching a
line of computers known (affectionately or otherwise) as the "Trash 80".
- 1978: Digitial Eqipment put pressure on the mainframe with the
VAX 11/780 minicomputer running the VMS operating system.
- 1978: Dennis Hayes started shipping the first "Hayes compatible"
modem. 300-baud. Alas, poor Dennis, he continued to sell "brand name" into
what had become a comodity market, and went belly up in 1998.
- 1979: The WordStar word processor and VisiCalc
spreadsheet were released, launching the desktop PC into the business world.
- 1980: Seagate ships the first Winchester (sealed) 5" hard disk -
- 1980: Xerox's Smalltalk-80 programming language ushered in the
concepts of Object Oriented Programming in a graphic environment.
- 1980: Novell founded.
- 1981: Microsoft licensed MS-DOS to IBM. Microsoft
purchased QDOS (Qick and Dirty Operating System) from Tim Patterson of
Seattle Computers and repackaged it as MS-DOS. IBM had to do a lot of the
finish work because Microsoft lacked operating system skills.
- 1981: Adam Osborne ships the Osborne 1 portable ("sewing machine",
24-pounds) computer running CP/M.
- 1981: Bill Gates saw a demonstration of Visi On, a windowing
environment by Visi Corp, and it scared him silly. Microsoft immediately began
work on "Interface Manager", later renamed "Windows".
- 1981 August: IBM shipped the IBM PC based on the Intel 8088 8-bit
microprocessor chip, which IBM was pleased to advertise as a 16-bit chip. Intel's
president remarked that the first he knew the 8088 was a 16-bit chip was when
he read an IBM ad in an airline magazine.
- 1981 November: Ashton-Tate repackaged Wayne Ratliff's Vulcan database
program as dBase II, bringing relational database technology to the PC. There
was never a dBase I, nor an Ashton, nor a Tate, (though a parrot was later
named Ashton) bringing deceptive product naming to the PC. Ed Esber brought
real MBA style business management to the company, destroying it completely.
The parrot died and Ashton-Tate was sold to Borland, where dBase died.
- 1982 February: Intel released the 286 CPU chip at 6-MHz
- 1982: The KayPro II portable computer ("sewing machine", 24-pounds)
running CP/M was released by Non-Linear Systems.
- 1982: Digital Research sued Microsoft and IBM over copyright
infringement. Gary Kildall sat down at a fresh IBM PC, typed a few keystrokes
and poped up a Digital Research copyright notice. This impressed the Judge.
DR won the case, monetary damages, and the right to clone MS-DOS. Microsoft
won a gag oder to make sure the public never heard about this case.
- 1982: The first clones of the IBM PC appeared. Because they copied
the BIOS program, IBM hauled them into court and destroyed most of htem.
- 1983: OK, I'm still looking for the details on this. Some big
exec (was it Esber?) said "Ashton-Tate has the database, MicroPro (WordStar)
has the Word Processor, Visi Corp has the spreadsheet. There is no room for
any new software companies."
- 1983: Compaq brought out the first portable IBM PC compatible
("sewing machine" 30 pounds). In design, it "flattered" the CP/M based
Osborne and Kaypro portables. IBM, certain that portable
PCs had no market, licensed their PC ROM BIOS code to Compaq, making Compaqs
the only truly "100% IBM PC Compatible" PC clones. Many early programs were
written in "IBM ROM BASIC", available only on Compaqs and real IBMs.
- 1983: Phoenix Technologies did a "clean room" reverse engineering
job on the IBM PC BIOS (except ROM BASIC), enabling the "PC Clone" industry.
Many companies churned out PC compatibles that were a lot faster, a lot
cheaper and just as reliable as the IBM PC. Thus was created the unfortunate
myth that "only price matters" in selecting computers.
- 1983 February: The Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program was released for
the IBM PC, making it essential for every business to have PCs.
- 1983 March: IBM brings out the IBM PC XT. Basicly it's the PC
with a 10-Meg hard disk.
- 1983 April: Microsoft demonstrated "Interface Manager", later
renamed "Windows". The demo was largely faked to make the computer appear
to run programs simultaneously.
- 1983 November: Borland released Turbo Pascal, a low cost programming
language that revolutionized the programming tools industry.
- 1983 November: Microsoft officially announced Windows. It
didn't actually work yet, and wouldn't for a couple of years.
- 1983: Novell introduces NetWare X and NetWare S
- 1984 January: Apple introduced the Macinotosh computer with their
famous "1984" Super Bowl commercial. The Macintosh replaced their failed
Lisa computer, bringing the graphic environment to the consumer desktop.
- 1984 April: Automation Access founded.
- 1984: The GNU Project began with the objective of producing a free,
Open Source version of Unix, including all its tools and subsidiary
- 1984: Hewlett Packard brought out their first LaserJet Laser
Printer. 180 dots-inch, based on a Canon printer engine. To get the
engine business, Canon signed an agreement they would never produce an HP
compatible printer - big mistake.
- 1985: IBM tried to fight off Ethernet by bringing out their
Token Ring network. Technically superior to Ethernet, in practice it was just
more expensive. Just about extinct by 1999.
- 1985: Aldus delivered PageMaker page layout software to the
Apple Macintosh, and the Macintosh to business desktops (at least in the
- 1985 October: Intel released the 386 CPU chip at 16-MHz.
- 1985 November: Microsoft actually shipped Windows 1.0 (two
years after announcing it in typical Microsoft fashion). It still didn't work
well enough to be useful for anything.
- 1985: Novell introduces Advanced NetWare 2.0.
- 1986: MCI and CompuServe bridged their proprietary e-mail
systems, accelerating the use of e-mail in business.
- 1987: Copy protection died as Lotus removed it from 1-2-3.
Microsoft had already removed copy protection from their products despite Bill
Gates earlier statements that Microsoft would never ship non-copy protected
products. Gate's explanation: "The users won, what can I say? The users won."
Copy protection did not return in a serious way until 1998. It now appears it
will need a stake driven through its heart to settle it back down.
- 1987: Digital Research excercised its right to clone MS-DOS (see
1982) and released DR-DOS. Microsoft launched an all out "dirty tricks" war
against what they knew to be a superior product (clearly stated in internal
e-mails). MS-DOS 5.0, 6.0 and 6.22 were essentially just imitations of the
DR packages, though some features (task switching) never worked in the
Microsoft versions, and they got sued for others (Stac). Caldera, current
publisher of DR-DOS, is suing Microsoft over everything else, and looks good to
- 1987 Apr: IBM and Microsoft introduce OS/2.
- 1987 Apr: Microsoft introduces OS/2 Lan Manager, an network
operating system to compete with Novell's NetWare. It's a patched up rehash
of IBM's old PCNet.
- 1987: Apple introduces their own networking protocol, AppleShare.
It supports two protocols, AppleTalk (210-kilobits/sec) and EtherTalk
(10-Megabits/second). The EtherTalk card costs over $900, so most opt for
AppleTalk at about $330 per card.
- 1987: IBM made VGA the video graphics standard for PC
compatibles, sweeping all other products from the market. Unfortunately, it
was inadequate, so "SuperVGA" and other non-standards were soon launched by
- 1987: Novell's NetWare v2.11 brought networks to small
business offices in a big way. One of the main objectives - to share Hewlett
Packard's expensive laser printers.
- 1987: IBM tried to regain control of the PC market, introducing
the PS/2 family of computers with MCA (Microchannel Architecture). They wanted
too much for the license. Even more important, they wanted back license fees
for all the AT bus computers a company had built before they'd license
Microchanel. The industry responded with the EISA bus in 1988. Neither was
widely accepted, and both were wiped from the PC market by PCI some years later.
- 1987 November: Microsoft releases Windows 2.0 and support for the
Intel 80286 CPU chip. Still not good enough to use for anything.
- 1987 November: Microsoft releases Windows/386 which lets users run
more than one DOS program at the same time. Still not good for much.
- 1988: Robert Morris Jr. launched the infamous "Internet Worm",
ushering in the age of widespread worms, viruses and trojan horses.
- 1988: Novell introduces Advanced NetWare 2.15.
- 1988 Oct: 3Com introduces the 3+Open network, based on Microsoft's
Lan Manager (based on IBM's old PCNet). In 1990 a famous "shoot out"
was held between 3+ and Novell NetWare. 3Com dropped out of the network
software business in Dec 1990.
- 1988 Apr: ISDN service is introduced.
- 1989 Apr: Intel released the 486 CPU chip at 25-MHz
- 1989: Novell introduces NetWare 3.0.
- 1990: Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web service
on the Internet.
- 1990 May: Windows 3.0, an almost but not quite usable
version of Microsoft Windows was released.
- 1990 Sep: The famous breakup - Microsoft and IBM part ways and
both have rights to OS/2. IBM tells Microsoft it'll sue their ass if they
use the name OS/2, so Microsoft's version was renamed Windows NT.
- 1991: Novel introduces NetWare 3.11.
- 1991 Feb: AOL releases client software for IBM PC compatibles.
- 1991 Oct: Microsoft adds CD-ROM support and multimedia
extensions to Windows 3.0.
- 1991 Oct: Linus Torvalds releases the first publicly available
version of the Linux operating system, beating GNU's Hurd to market
- 1992: The number of hosts on the Internet exceeded 1 million.
- 1992 April: Microsoft rleased Windows 3.1, with enough bugs fixed
to be actually usable, firming up the tradition that no Microsoft product works
before version 3.1, which is why Microsoft called the very first version of
Windows NT version 3.1 "to avoid confusion".
- 1992 November: The Geos desktop with GeoWorks suite was
released. The press heralded it as "What Windows 3.1 should have been". Users
and reviewers liked it, but no software developers dared write software for it
for fear of certain revenge from Microsoft. Geos disappeared from the market.
- 1992: Novell purchases Unix from AT&T
- 1993 March: Intel released the Pentium CPU chip at 66-MHz and
started a massive advertising campaign to wipe out the 486 chip (because AMD
made cheaper 486s that were about as fast as Intel's Pentiums. The Pentium was
not called the 586 because a judge told Intel they couldn't copyright a number.
- 1993: The Mosaic Web browser was launched by NCSA, awakening
business interest in the Internet. Graphics could now be viewed as easily
- 1993: Novell introduces NetWare 3.12 and NetWare 4.0. 4.0
introduces Novell Directory Services in place of the Bindery.
- 1993 Nov: Microsoft introduces Windows NT 1.0 and a compatible
version of OS/2 Lan Manager 1.0. Calls NT 1.0 NT 3.1 "to avoid confusion".
- 1993: Commercial Linux distributions start to appear.
- 1994 February: Microsoft released Windows for Workgroups 3.11,
adding networking to the product. The network, derived from IBM's primitive
PCNet, is so totally piss poor people continue to buy Lantastic instead.
- 1994 Mar: Bill Gates and Craig McCaw anounce a huge low orbit
satilite communications system called Teledesic.
- 1994 Apr: Yahoo Web search service founded.
- 1994 Jun: ATM (Asychronous Transfer Mode) data service introduced
by Bell Atlantic.
- 1994 Jun: U.S. government cancels requirement for GOSIP (Government
Open Systems Interconnect, relegating the ISO 7 layer protocol stack to
textbook status. TCP/IP "the interrum protocol that stayed for dinner" won
simply because it worked.
- 1994 Aug: AOL reaches 1 million subscribers.
- 1994 Sep: Microsoft releases Windows NT 3.5, a speed-up and bug fix
version of NT 3.1.
- 1994 Sep: The Netscape Navigator Web browser is launched by
Mosaic Communications, which changed its name to Netscape two months later.
- 1994 October: IBM released OS/2 version 3.0, an operating system
far superior to anything Microsoft had, or would have for years. IBM launched
a major campaign to get software developed for it. Many major software houses
signed up to port their applications, but nearly all had to drop OS/2
development when they read the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) for the Windows95
development kit. If you were developing anything for OS/2, you could not
participate in the Windows95 program. The NDA itself required total secrecy,
so the reason everyone dropped OS/2 development was only rumored for years.
- 1994: Novell purchases WordPerfect and Quatro Pro.
- 1995 March: Microsoft releases "Microsoft Bob", featuring their
new "social interface". Bill Gates' new wife Melinda got to anounce this utter
turkey. "Bob technology" finally found it's way into Microsoft Office as the
paper clip "asistant" .
- 1995 June: Microsoft released Windows NT 3.51. More bug fixes.
- 1995 Jul: IBM bought Lotus.
- 1995 Jul: Amazon.com Web based bookstore was founded.
- 1995 August: Microsoft released "32-bit" Windows95, amid
incredible hype. People who didn't even own computers lined up to buy it.
Microsoft announced Windows95 meant "the end of DOS". See subsequent years
for later "end of DOS, this time we really mean it" announcements. Also see
1995 November Intel release of the Pentium Pro, which gave the lie to
Microsoft's "32-bit" claims. Win95 "integrated" DOS with the Windows
interface to eliminate DR-DOS from the market once and for all.
- 1995 August: Microsoft and Department of Justice finalize Concent
Decree. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson is ordered to sign it, since Judge
Stanley Sporkin refused, indicating it was too easy on Microsoft. Microsoft
immediately starts publicly ridiculing the Department of Justice, changes the
names of the practices forbidden by the Concent Decree, and continues business
- 1995 Sep: eBay Web based auction site was launched.
- 1995 Nov: Intel released the Pentium Pro chip.
Microsoft was livid because Pentium Pro was optomized for 32-bit code.
Windows95 runs like a dog on PPro, exposing Microsoft's "32-bit" claims to be
lies. OS/2 and Unix run just fine.
- 1995: Novell sells Unix to SCO.
- 1995: Gigabit Ethernet introduced by 3Com, Sun and Compaq.
- 1996 Feb: AOL reaches 5 million subscribers.
- 1996 Feb: Congress passes the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which
is supposed to foster competition within local and long distance
communications markets. It doesn't work.
- 1996 Aug: Microsoft released Windows NT 4.0.
- 1996 Aug: Microsoft released Internet Explorer 3.0 and Netscape
released Netscape Navigator 3.0, and the browser war becomes intense.
- 1996: Bill Gates "discovers" the Internet. It can't be long now
before we start hearing that Bill Gates "invented" the Internet (ooops, that
was Al Gore, wasn't it?).
- 1996: Novell sells WordPrefect and Quatro Pro to Corel, but
keeps rights to GroupWise colaboration and messaging software. Issues
- 1997 Oct: The Department of Justice filed anti-trust charges
- 1997 Nov: AOL reaches 10 million subscribers.
- 1997 December: Editors of PC Week, (published by Ziff Davis, long known as
a Microsoft ally) announce that "Microsft has peaked".
- 1998 January: Intel released the Pentium II at 333-MHz, delivering
on their promise to Microsoft to ship a Pentium Pro that ran 16-bit Windows95
code more efficiently.
- 1998 Feb: Compaq bought once mighty Digital Equipment, ending the age of
the minicomputer. The mainframe is still standing.
- 1998 May: Napster music "sharing" software is introduced by
Shawn Fanning at Northeastern University.
- 1998 June: Microsoft releases Windows 98. While it contained bug
fixes for Windows95 the real reason for its release was to bury Internet
Explorer in Windows so the Justice Department couldn't make them take it out.
- 1998 October: Novell introduces NetWare 5.0. NetWare gets great
reviews, and Microsoft feels the heat, especially from comparisons between
NetWare 5.0 (shipping, works great) and Windows NT 5.0 (very, very late; very,
very buggy, not shipping yet), so renames Windows NT 5.0 to Windows 2000 to
stop the 5.0 vs 5.0 comparisons.
- 1998 Nov: AOL purchases Netscape for $4.2 billion. Netscape has been
crushed by Microsoft's monopolist business proactices, but Microsoft spin
doctors say it proves the vitality of the market.
- 1999: Bob Metcalf (see 1973) has to (in public) eat one of his
InfoWorld columns because the Internet did not collapse in 1998. He ground it
up in a blender with a lot of other ingredients, the wimp! Note: The author
has the right to call Bob a wimp - as proof of concept he ate an entire
Metcalf column, dry, whole and uncut (but did chase it with some Cabernet).
- 1999 Apr: the Melissa virus is realeased bring down Windows based
- 1999 May: Microsoft releases Windows 98 SE (Second Edition)
- 1999 November: Guilty! Judge Jackson's Finding Of Fact in
Justice Department suit was released declaring Microsoft has a monoply, and has
knowingly abused its monopoly position.
- 1999 November: Comdex. All the excitement was in "Internet
appliances" and Linux. It was clear that the PC, particularly the Windows PC,
is in decline.
- 1999 Dec: AOL reaches 20 million subscribers.
- 2000 Jan: Novell introduces NetWare 5.1. Windows NT 5.0 still
- 2000 February: Microsoft finally ships Windows 2000 (the operating
system formerly known as Windows NT 5.0).
- 2000 February: Microsoft can't take the heat - buys off Caldera
evil business practices lawsuit. Microsoft demands a gag order as always to
keep the truth from getting out. Microsoft announces a charge of $150 million
and implies that was the total price (so Caldera position must have been
weak). Experts estimate the actual buy-out was between $350 million and
$500 million based on $150 million added to pre-existing reserves.
- 2000 February: the first big DoD (Distributed Denial of Service)
attack brings down Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, CNN.com and E*Trade.
- 2000 April: Guilty! Judge Jackson's Finding of Law is
released immediately after DOJ / Microsoft settlement negotiations break down.
Microsoft guilty on nearly all counts, "not proven" on a couple, and innocent
- 2000 August: Caldera anounces upcoming purchase of UnixWare,
Unix trademark, rights to market SCO Unix, and SCO tradename from SCO.
SCO becomes Tarantella Inc.
- 2000 August: Microsoft sends Windows 2000 Datacenter to
production. OEMs should be taking delivery in September.
- 2000 September: Microsoft releases Windows Me (Melenium Edition).
This was basically Windows 98SE with some maintenance features and multimedia
features "integrated" the same as they did with Internet Explorer with the
intent of destroying Real Media and other multimdia vendors.
- 2000 October 30: The last
Multics system is shut down (see 1965).
- 2000 November: George W. Bush is elected president of the U.S.
under suspeicious circumstances. The business world presumes this means
Microsoft will be let off on anti-trust charges.
- 2001 January: Linux kernel version 2.4 released with new features
aimed at enterprise level servers.
- 2001 February: Microsoft anounces Windows XP (eXPerience) formerly
known as Whistler. It is the Windows 2000 code base applied to a consumer
operating system. Shipment later in the year.
- 2001 June: A pro-business, Libertarian leaning Court of Appeals
unanimously upholds all 8 counts of Microsoft's conviction for abusing its
monopoly. They set aside the penalty for retrial due to an "appearance" of
of bias on the part of judge Thomas Jackson.
- 2001 Aug: Microsoft appeals to the Supreme Court to overturn it's
conviction for monopoly abuse.