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  • Writer's pictureNth Generation

Tech Events in April Throughout History

Updated: May 1, 2023

April 7, 1964 – IBM Announces System/360 Computer Family

The launch of IBM’s System/360 set the company on a path to dominate the computer industry and began an era of computer compatibility that allowed machines across a product line to work with each other for the first time. It changed the IT industry forever, and the software written for it in 1965 is still running on some mainframes today.

The S/360 replaced all five of IBM’s computer product lines with one compatible family, using a new architecture that pioneered the eight-bit byte still used on every computer today. The announcement was revolutionary.

April 4, 1975 – Microsoft founded

Childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft on this day, a multinational technology corporation and producer of software products, such as its Windows line of operating systems, Microsoft Office suite, and Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Microsoft was formed to develop and sell BASIC (Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) interpreters for the Altair 8800, an early personal computer. Microsoft Blog

Microsoft went public in 1987, making Bill Gates the world’s youngest billionaire at just 31 years old.

April 1, 1976 – Apple Computer, Inc founded

Apple Computer, Inc., one of the most well-known multinational technology companies, was formed on this day by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne to develop and sell Wozniak's Apple I personal computer. Jobs and Wozniak famously began building Apple I computers in Jobs' garage and initially sold them without a monitor, keyboard, or casing.

Sal Veder/AP Images

In 2018, Apple made history by becoming the first publicly traded U.S. company to reach $1 trillion in market value.

April 4, 1994 – Netscape founded

Netscape Communications Corporation was an independent computer services company whose Netscape web browser was the first to capitalize on the World Wide Web and dominated web browsing in the 1990s. It eventually lost the battle to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

The company's first product was the web browser Mosaic Netscape 0.9, released on October 13, 1994. Within four months, it had already captured three-quarters of the browser market. On August 9, 2005, Netscape went public with its initial stock offering at $28 per share. By close of day, the company's valuation skyrocketed to almost $3 billion.

April 28, 2003 – iTunes Music Store launched

Apple revolutionized how the world purchased, downloaded, and listened to music when it formed the iTunes Music Store, the first digital platform for music. Until then, you could only buy music via physical media, like CDs and cassette tapes, and mostly only in brick-and-mortar stores.

Ian Waldie/Getty Images

Napster, the file-sharing platform, made it easy for users to illegally download music from the internet instantaneously. After numerous lawsuits, Napster’s servers were permanently shut down in December 2002 after the company lost a legal battle to RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), a trade organization that represents the music recording industry and protects artists from online piracy and counterfeit goods.

Steve Jobs approached multiple record labels to ask if Apple could sell their music for $0.99 cents a song and $10 for a full album. Record sales had been devastated by illegal file-sharing, so music labels were happy to oblige. In its first week, iTunes sold over one million songs, and it became the top music retailer in the United States in just five years.

April 1, 2004 – Gmail launched

It was on this day that Google launched a free, web-based email service to compete with Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail. It was a browser-based email program that featured a search bar, allowing users to search their own messages, a feature that other email services at the time did not provide, and a 1GB storage capacity for each user.

Paul Buchheit, Gmail’s creator, began working on it in August 2001. He developed the first version of Gmail in one day by using code from Google Groups, and then continued to improve upon it with a team of developers over the next three years. “I had started to make an email program before in probably 1996,” he said. “I had this idea I wanted to build web-based email... The first thing I do on day one is build something useful, then just keep improving it.” Courtesy Paul Buchheit


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