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Looking forward . . . Looking back

By Jenny Bailey
Posted Friday, November 5, 2004

Our company is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year – a long time by Internet standards. This prompted me to take a look at what has been happening with the Internet in the last decade. Remember when Web pages were grey with black text? Remember when the best Web editor was notepad? Take a trip down memory lane . . .

First graphics-based Web browser - NCSA Mosaic - introduced. Traffic on the Internet expands by 341,634% annual growth.

Netscape Communications Corp founded. Yahoo founded by 2 PhD students from Stanford. "Spamming" begins - unsolicited bulk emails. Standard agreed for 28.8K modems.

Netscape launches on the stockmarket - share value rises to $3 billion on first day. AltaVista search engine is launched by DEC (remember them?). Java programming language launched by Sun Microsystems. Registration of Domain Names no longer free.

Age of the Internet has arrived. 40 million people connected. More than $1 billion spent at Internet shopping malls. Internet telephony starts. Promises a major reduction in call costs (which proved unfounded).

World-wide Web Consortium publishes HTML Version 4 including multi-media features and support for different languages.

Over 100 million Internet users. Network Solutions registers its 2 millionth domain. World-wide Web Consortium releases specification for XML. Technologies of the year - eCommerce, eAuctions, portals.

First full-service bank available only on the Internet (First Internet Bank of Indiana). Technologies of the year - eTrade, online banking, MP3.

Technologies of the year - ASP, Napster. The dot com "bubble" became the dot com "bomb". Reality bites back.

Broadband gaining popularity. 72% of Americans use the Internet. Half of Europeans now online. Number of active Internet subscribers rose by 11.5% during the year. English losing its dominance on the web. 43% native English speakers, 32% native speakers of European languages and 24.7% Asian languages.

Over 600 million Internet users world-wide. Over 111 million new Internet users this year. US consumers spend $2.2 billion on online purchases in a single week in December. Online sales double in the UK this year.

In the late 1990's, venture capitalists were pouring money into the market with new start-ups promising to transform the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces. The massive inflow of capital led to irrational expenditure on poorly constructed business plans. An over-investment in bandwidth, particularly fibre-optic cabling, and in the new 3rd Generation (3G) mobile networks, led to a crisis in the telecommunications industry with sharply reduced valuations and the spectacular collapse of Global Crossing. After the dot com “bubble” burst in 2000, contrary to popular perception, the Internet continued to expand rapidly. The penetration of broadband has started and is enriching the Internet experience for many people. It is still only the beginning.

B2C and B2B business plans are now better constructed. The emphasis for B2C is marketing and customer relationships. The emphasis for B2B is to harness low cost communications and the business integration opportunities of Intranets and Extranets. And yes, the cost of bandwidth will continue to plummet. But, we may need to wait another year before Tablet PCs and 3G networks become significant.

Here’s to the next 10 Internet years!

About the Author
Jenny Bailey has worked in Internet development for many years specializing in Web applications, Intranets and Extranets. Visit her site for more information about real Internet business solutions. ( or


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