A Short History of the Internet

1969 - The first node is connected to the internet's military ancestor, ARPANET. With no HQ and the ability to bounce messages between surviving nodes until they reach their destination, ARPANET was intended to be America's bomb-proof communications network at the height of the Cold War.

1971 - Michael Hart begins Project Gutenberg to make copyright-free works electronically available. The first is the US Declaration of Independence.

1972 - Bolt Beranek and Newman computer engineer Ray Tomlinson invents email by adapting an internal messaging program and extending it to use the ARPANET to send messages between sites. Within a year, three quarters of ARPANET traffic is email.

1973 - University College of London is one of the first international connections to ARPANET.

1976 - The Queen sends an email from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment in Malvern.

1982 - Scott Fahlman kick-starts smiley-culture by suggesting using the :-) and :-( smileys to convey emotions in emails. His message has been preserved at http://research.microsoft.com/~mbj/Smiley/Smiley.html.

1984 - Joint Academic Network (JANET) built to connect UK universities to each other over the internet.

1986 - Internet newsgroups are born. Rick Adams at the Center for Seismic Studies releases software enabling news transmission, posting and reading using internet-standard TCP/IP connections. His software builds on work begun in 1979 at Duke University to exchange information between Unix machines.

1988 - The first internet worm is unleashed by Robert Morris. It infects about 6000 computers. Although it causes no physical damage, it clogs up the internet and loses hundreds of thousands of dollars in computer time.

1989-91 - Tim Berners-Lee and the team at CERN invent the World Wide Web to make information easier to publish and access on the internet. 6 August 1991 - the day on which links to the fledgling computer code for the www were put on the alt.hypertext discussion group so others could download it and experiment with it.

1993 - Marc Andreesen of the National Center for SuperComputer Applications in the US launches web-browser Mosaic. It introduces proprietary HTML tags and more sophisticated image capabilities. The browser is a massive success and businesses start to notice the Web's potential. Andreesen goes on to develop the Netscape web browser.

1994 - Internet Magazine launches. It reports on London's first cybercafe and reviews 100 websites. It's billed as the 'most extensive' list of websites ever to appear in a magazine. A 28.8Kbps modem costs £399 (plus VAT).

1994 - Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web is renamed Yahoo! and receives 100,000 visitors. In 1995, it begins displaying adverts.

1995 - Digital Equipment Corporation's Research lab launches search engine Alta Vista, which it claims can store and index the HTML from every internet page. It also introduces the first multilingual search.

1995 - Jeff Bezos launches Amazon.com, an online bookseller that pioneers ecommerce.

1995 - eBay is launched to enable internet users to trade with each other.

1996 - The browser wars begin. Microsoft sees the internet as a threat to its desktop OS monopoly and integrates Internet Explorer with Windows. Netscape and Microsoft go head-to-head, intensively developing and releasing upgrades to their browsers. Netscape lacks M$'s ability to sustain a zero cost to users since the browser is Netscape's main product rather than a loss-leader. MS will see their market share rise until the open source Mozilla Firefox emerges to take 10 percent in 2005 amid massive security concerns about virii exploiting Internet Explorer.

1996 - Macromedia Flash 1.0 launches to add interactive animation to webpages (previously called FutureSplash, Macromedia will successfully develop Flash until the 2005 buy-out by Adobe). Early Flash adopters include Disney and MSN.

1998 - Google arrives. It pioneers a ranking system that uses links to assess a website's popularity. Google's simple design by Jakob Nielsen is simple and clean at a time when other search engines cram their pages with animated adverts.

1999 - Shawn Fanning launches Napster. The peer-to-peer software enables internet users to swap MP3 music files stored on their computers and to find each other through a central directory. Record labels are furious and their organisation the RIAA effectively stopped Napster operating by July 2001. Napster is eventually bought and set up as a legal music subscription service.

2000 - The dotcom bust. After several years of venture capitalists throwing money at proposals with 'internet' on the cover, it all starts unravelling as many of these businesses fail to find a market and other realise they don't have a workable business plan.

2001 - US regulators approve the merger of AOL and Time Warner. Shareholders of relative upstart AOL own 55% of the new company. AOL started in 1985 and grew its modest internet connection business into one of the world's biggest media companies. Their offices at the top of one of the World Trade Center buildings will be destroyed during the 9/11 attack.

2003 - Nearly half of us are connected: UK telecomms regulator Oftel reports that 47% of UK homes have internet access and 58% have a PC. Of those online, 15% use broadband and 92% are satisfied with their service.

2004 - As broadband becomes more popular, media companies start selling music and video online. Napster relaunches as a paid music subscription store. It struggles against iTunes, Apple's download store for its iPod portable music players, Macs and PCs.

2005 - April: "According to John Dvorak the reasoning behind Adobe's (to many, surprising) purchase of Macromedia for $3.4 billion is that Adobe was afraid Microsoft was going to do it first {MicroSoft were showing an interest in creating content for the Web, and Macromedia produced both market leaders: Dreamweaver and Flash}. An interesting look at the thinking and attitude of Adobe from someone who's been following them for a long time. From TFA: "So, mostly out of fear, Adobe buys its main competitor and now must shoehorn the company into its unfortunate not-invented-here corporate culture".

2006 - Apple iTunes sells its 1 billionth legal music download. Mozilla Firefox has over 10 percent of browser market, with some geek sites reporting more than 50 percent use by visitors comprising technically savvie users.

2007 - March: Adobe launches CS3, the third version of their Creative Suite that includes Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator and InDesign.

2010 - May: Adobe ships CS5.

2012 - April: Adobe launch their Creative Cloud subscription system offering access to all their products for a monthly fee...