How the internet was created, and related things

After reading a book – The Story of the Internet by Stephen Bryant – I created an easy presentation that sums up the history of the internet. Look at how Internet, email, the PC and programs were developed, and who was there when this happened.

The series about Internet:

What you can find here

  2. IMP – unification of communication
  3. First e-mail
  4. Internet – network of networks
  5. First personal computer
  6. First good-looking Apple PC
  7. First commercial program
  8. Rise of MS-DOS
  9. Arrival of the World Wide Web
  10. First browsers
  11. Yahoo – a guide for everything
  12. What can we do thanks to the Internet?


  • This governmental organization was founded in 1958 in the USA with the goal of controlling hi-tech stuff.
  • In 1966, Bob Tylor of ARPA founded a project, later known as ARPANET, with the goal of controlling and managing more computers from one place.
  • At this time, computers were rarer than Rolls-Royce cars. Larry Roberts was hired to work on ARPANET.
  • Telephone lines, the only network at that time, were used to connect computers.
  • Computers were about the size of a large room.

IMP – uniting of communication

  • After the first few attempts to connect more computers, a problem was recognized: each computer used a different system language.
  • It was necessary to translate these system languages, and small PCs called IMPs were created to do so. They created an interface between “host“ computers.
  • Roberts was inspired by conference “packet-switching“ and learned from Vint Cerf, that each packet was like a postcard and had to have a “from“ and a “to“.
  • IMPs were used to create local networks at universities, and it became possible to share data more easily.

First e-mail

  • email_redIn 972, Ray Tomlinson sent his first email using a program he had created. It enabled him to send email with an attached file from one PC to another.
  • Ray Tomlinson chose the symbol @, which is still used today
  • One of the very first email address format: [email protected] was later simplified to [email protected] thanks to a dialed connection. The server was stated at MX record at the domain.

Internet – network of networks

  • The ARPANET network started to grow in 1970, and dozens of computers were connected.
  • Separate networks – local, like Alohanet in Hawaii, or a company network (lottery network) in San Francisco – were founded.
  • Another problem arose because computers could communicate within their own network, but were not connected to other networks.
  • Vint Cert and Bob Kahn tried to solve the problem and designed software which would enable communication between networks. That is how the Internet, the network of networks, was created.
  • Rules that they proposed are still used in parts of the Internet.

First personal computer

  • The first personal computer, Altair, was created by the MITS Company in 1975.
  • Bill Gates (then 19 years old), together with his friend Paul Allen, offered to write software for MITS.
  • And that is how the famous interpreter program for BASIC was written.
  • Gates and Allen founded Microsoft because they thought that small PCs or “microcomputers“ would need their own software.

First good-looking Apple PC

  • Stev Wozniak wanted to create smaller, faster and also more good-looking PCs.
  • Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computers in the late 70‘s.
  • Jobs bet on marketing and design from the very beginning. Therefore he celebrated quite a success with the Apple II personal computer in 1977.
  • Their company reached a market value of $1 billion in five years. 

First commercial program

  • Soon more programs for Apple II were being written – most were games and free software.
  • The first business program for personal computers was VisiCalc, the first version of spreadsheet processor and the forerunner of Excel. It was written by Dan Bricklin for Apple.
  • Thanks to this development, IBM started to take Apple seriously in 1979.
  • IBM was the leader in this business until that time. But people started to buy Apples because of programs like VisiCalc.

Rise of MS-DOS

  • In 1979 IBM realized the threat Apple posed and decided to create its own personal computer, with an operating system (OS) developed by Microsoft (because they already had experience with Altair).
  • After reaching an agreement with IBM, Bill Gates bought an existing OS from a company in Seattle, which became MS-DOS.
  • The first personal computer by IBM (+MS-DOS) was sold in 1981, and by 1984 over two million were sold.
  • Soon after that, IBM lost its leadership position in the market because anyone could copy its design and buy the OS from Microsoft – the first of many companies to do so was Compaq

Arrival of the Word Wide Web

  • wwwIn 1989, Tim Berners–Lee created the World Wide Web at CERN.
  • It was created so scientists could share documents via a network.
    • First, hyperlinks were integrated.
    • A new system of URL addresses was developed.
  • Berners-Lee created the HTML language for creators of web pages.
  • He created an easy browser for pages written in HTML and posted it on the internet for free use.

First internet browser

  • Mark Andreessen and James H. Clark were inspired by Berners-Lee and created the Mosaic browser
  • After that, they founded their own company, Netscape Communications, and wrote a browser called Navigator.
  • Netscape started to sell software to companies so they could run their own websites.
  • Netscape Communications became one of the fastest growing companies. In its first year, it earned $75 million, in the second $375 million, and in 1995 they became a publicly trading company. The price of the stock was initially set at $28. But it first sold for $70, and the market value of the company soon rose to $2.7 billion.

Yahoo – guide to everything

  • Jerry Yang and David Filo at Stanford University came up with the idea to sort and recommend web pages on the internet. They started to sort them into categories and subcategories. They called this list of pages David and Jerry’s Guide to the Word Wide Web.
  • Later they changed the name to Yahoo. At that time, people used their search engine a lot.
  • In 1995, Tim Koogle (head manager of Yahoo) came up with a brilliant way to monetize Yahoo, and also provide service for free.
  • He invented PPC advertisement – when people searched for something, advertisements were displayed at the top of the page.

What can we do with the internet

  • Anyone can report anything. Matt Drudge reported the relationship between US President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. The President was almost impeached because of that.
  • Internet crime. Vladimir Levin from Russia hacked the computers of Citybank in the USA and stole/sent more than $10 million to many banks around the world.
  • Software for free. In 1991, Linus Torvalds wrote the core of the Linux OS. Thanks to many programmers who cooperated via the internet, a rival to Microsoft was created.
  • Computer wars. In 1999 when India and Pakistan were fighting over Kashmir, the web pages of the Indian army were hacked. Someone posted content so people could see what enormities they were inflicting on the people of Kashmir.
  • In 1995, Time magazine published an article which said that 83% of new users use the internet to exchange erotic photos.
  • Work on the internet. Thousands of programmers work in Bangalore, India, while their bosses in the USA sleep. Car designers in Cologne, Germany send their work results to colleagues in the USA.
  • Are we alone in the universe? (Project SETI searches for radio signals from outer space. David Anderson founded the project [email protected]– he uses volunteered computers when they are not being used by their owners.

In conclusion

  • This article was created after reading a book The Story of the Internet by Stephen Bryant
  • Important name links to Wikipedia
Don’t forget to take our free “Internet knowledge” test at: “The Internet Knowledge Test”.

Radek Kucera

Work as a salesman in ICT/Telco branch more than ten years, WordPress fan and blogger. Interested to write about an Internet and ICT topic.

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