The 1990s was a turning point in the computer industry, as the period brought major technological advancements to the personal computer, largely thanks to the hardworking engineers and programmers that have improved some programs and even invented new hardware or software. In addition, the 1990s showed how Microsoft became a powerhouse in the world of software, and it was in that period that they were able to beat their rivals in the operating system business. To know more about the important events in technology during that era, here is a timeline of technology news in the 1990s.
In 1990, Adobe Inc. released the Adobe Photoshop 1.0 software, a graphics editor that was devised or programmed by Thomas Knoll, a software engineer that was already experimenting on image processing on computers since 1988.
The third iteration of the Windows operating system, Windows 3.0, was released by Microsoft on May 22, 1990. In addition, a new presentation program called Microsoft Powerpoint was also released by the company on the same date, and it is bundled with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word to form Microsoft Office on November 19, 1990.
After creating the ENQUIRE system, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee published a formal proposal to utilize and tweak the same system for forming the World Wide Web.
On February 26, 1991, Tim Berners-Lee successfully introduced the World Wide Web, which is considered to be the first web browser. The launch of the World Wide Web paved the way for other companies to create better web browsers for users to gain access to the internet. Furthermore, it was also Berners-Lee who helped created the first website, info.cern.com, which was the website for the company that Berners-Lee was working for as an independent contractor, CERN.
Another web browser created in 1991 was the Line Mode Browser, a cross-platform browser that was programmed by Nicola Pellow, a member of the WWW (World Wide Web) Project that created the browser under the guidance of Berners-Lee.
The Trojan Room coffee pot, a coffee machine that has a security camera place in front of it, was created by the employees of the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in England. The camera was put in front of the coffee machine so that employees will know if there is coffee in the machine, thus saving them time from actually going to the Trojan Room to check. The Trojan Room coffee pot would eventually become the inspiration for the world’s first webcam.
An upgrade for the Windows 3.0 OS called Windows 3.1 was released by Microsoft in 1992, and this new OS works faster and much better than its predecessor. Meanwhile, Apple released its first multi-media player called Quicktime around the same year.
Sony improved upon their compact discs with the release of CD-ROM (compact disc read-only memory), which has a higher storage capacity than its predecessors. The CD-ROM would eventually be used on another Sony product called the PlayStation.
On March 22, 1993, the Intel Corporation released the first Pentium chip, and the Pentium line would eventually include some of the company’s best-selling microprocessors.
The term “spamming” was coined in 1993 by Joel Furr, a software trainer who worked for Usenet during the 90s. Furr came up with the term when he found out about a bug in the program that was written by another Usenet employee Richard Depew, and that bug would send one article to approximately 200 newsgroups. Because of how the incident was similar to the popular Monty Python sketch in 1970, wherein every item on a restaurant’s menu includes the luncheon meat “Spam,” Furr described the bug in the program to be like Spam that appears everywhere. The term “spam” and “spamming” would then be forever associated with unwanted messages that would often pop up in people’s email inboxes.
In July of 1994, American industrialist Jeff Bezos launches Amazon, an online store dedicated to selling music and videos. Amazon would eventually become one of the biggest companies in the world.
On December 3, 1994, Sony released their first home video game console, the PlayStation. It was released in Japan first, and then it was launch in the United States on September 9, 1995. The PlayStation was supposed to be co-developed by Nintendo and Sony, but when Nintendo decided to partner with Philips instead, Sony was left to release the CD-ROM based video game console on their own. The partnership between Philips and Nintendo resulted in the release of the Philips CD-I, which was released in 1990 and was considered a commercial failure.
In 1995, Jeff Bezos expanded the Amazon company and added an online bookstore, and on July 16, the first book that they have in their catalog, Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies by Douglas Hofstadter, was sold. The online bookstore was complemented by Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 95, which was utilized in the latest computers and laptops in 1995.
The year 1995 was also a stellar time for CD-ROM, as it is implemented and applied on several different machines and devices that are owned not only by Sony but by other companies as well.
It was in 1996 when mobile powerhouse Nokia launched the Nokia 9000, which allowed users to send and receive email and fax using the integrated web browser. Meanwhile, Motorola introduced a new mobile design that was aptly named “flip phone” because of its clamshell design that you are supposed to flip in order to gain access to the phone’s number pad and screen.
One of the most highly coveted video game franchises in the history of gaming, Pokémon, debuted in February 1996, with the release of Pocket Monsters: Blue and Pocket Monsters: Green. The two games would soon release in the United States on September 28, 1998, as Pokémon: Blue and Pokémon: Red.
On February 7, 1997, Steve Jobs returned to Apple Inc. as a consultant after resigning on September 17, 1985. The return of Steve Jobs to his former company was brought by Apple’s purchase of Jobs startup software company called NeXT, Inc.
The intelligence and power of computers were tested when the Deep Blue, a chess-playing computer created by IBM, was challenged in a chess match by Garry Kasparov, a Russian chess grandmaster that was ranked as the number one or best chess player during that time. IBM’s Deep Blue was able to defeat Kasparov on May 11, 1997.
A low-key invention was also released in 1997, and that invention was the web search engine called Google, which had a registered domain named on the World Wide Web on September 15, 1997. It is essential to note that Yahoo was the top search engine in the late 90s, making the release of the Google search engine almost invisible to many computer users.
In the month of August in 1998, Apple released the iMac, a personal computer that is known for having a beautiful translucent casing and improved hardware. On the other side of the industry, Stanford University graduates Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google, Inc. in order to properly promote their Google web search engine.
It was also in 1998 when Time Warner began offers cable services with modems that can connect to the internet, thus starting the broadband craze. In the video game industry, Sega released the Dreamcast on November 7, 1998, as a competitor for the Sony PlayStation. Unfortunately, the Dreamcast was met with poor sales, mainly because of the hype surrounding the release of the PlayStation 2 two years after. The Dreamcast was the last game console released by Sega.
By 1999, Microsoft was considered as the biggest tech company in the world, as they were valued at more than $5 billion. Because IBM was unable to compete with its rivals in the hardware sector, the company decided that it will no longer produce PCs and would rather improve upon their software division.
Hours, the 21st studio album by renowned musician David Bowie, became the first complete album that was available for download on the internet when it was released on October 4, 1999.