The Chronology of New Media: Early 21st Century

By | January 7, 2000
 

2000

  • Despite projections of doom, the Y2K bug based on year date limitations in old software actually causes few problems worldwide.
  • In January, America Online and Time Warner announce plans to merge.
  • In March, the dot-com crash begins; the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index falls 37% from March to May.
  • In April, Ananova.com launches a lightweight British news site using “the world’s first virtual newscaster,” a talking animation of a green-haired woman.
  • On June 7, Judge Jackson orders the breakup of Microsoft Corp. into two companies since the company had “proved untrustworthy in the past.” Bill Gates immediately vows to appeal.
  • On July 26, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel issues an injunction against Napster Inc., halting the peer-to-peer trading of MP3 music files. (Several Napster-like clone sites are running strong the next day.)
  • On Sept. 14, Windows Millennium Edition becomes available in stores.
  • In November, Netscape 6.0 is released.
  • Sony releases Playstation 2.

2001

  • Business reviews of 2000 confirm the dot-com gold rush is over: webmergers.com reports one-third of all dot-com companies shut down in 2000, most in the fourth quarter and most in the B2C (business-to-consumer) sector.
  • On Jan. 11, AOL and Time Warner complete their merger.
  • On Feb. 22, Glenn Fleishman writes in New York Times Circuits about public space wireless ISPs. The WiFi movement soon goes mainstream among consumers.
  • In March, Apple releases the first consumer version of Mac OS X.
  • On April 12, Peter Shipley coins the term “wardriving” in reference to finding wireless access points by driving around with a WiFi-enable device.
  • On April 23, Intel introduces its Pentium 4 chip.
  • In June, Nielsen/NetRatings reports more than 42 million U.S. office workers have Internet access at work, an increase of 23% since the previous year.
  • On June 27, a U.S. federal appeals court throws out the antitrust judgment against Microsoft, citing errors by the Judge Jackson.
  • On July 2, Napster officially shuts down. The brand is revived by Roxio to relaunch as a legal online music store in the fall of 2003.
  • On Sept. 11, terrorists destroy the World Trade Center in New York and damage the Pentagon; another hijacked passenger jet crashes in Pennsylvania. High traffic from users looking for online coverage cripples some major news Web sites.
  • Beginning in October, postal letters and packages tainted with anthrax are shipped to news organizations in New York and Florida, while similar cases involve government offices Washington, D.C. A photo editor in Florida and three postal workers die from anthrax exposure.
  • In October, Internet Explorer 6.0 is released.
  • On Oct. 2, several entertainment industry companies file suit against Kazaa, attempting to shut the file-sharing service down as had happened to Napster. Within days, Kazaa restructures its business operations to become a joint venture by companies operating from different countries, making effective prosecution almost impossible.
  • On Oct. 16, AOL launches Radio@AOL.
  • On Oct. 23, Apple introduces its iPod MP3 player.
  • On Oct. 25, Microsoft releases the retail version of Windows XP.
  • On Nov. 1, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly approves a settlement deal in the antitrust case between Microsoft, the Justice Department, and nine states.
  • In November, Microsoft joins the game console business with the release of its XBox system.

2002

  • In January, Apple introduces a redesigned iMac sporting a flat-panel display mounted on a swivel arm.
  • In February, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped and murdered by Islamic militants in Pakistan. The killers release to the media a video presentation which includes graphic scenes of Pearl’s execution. U.S. authorities are unsuccessful in limiting the video’s spread across the Internet.
  • On March 11, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission begins questioning Worldcom about the company’s accounting procedures. Within months, scandals rock the firm, civil fraud charges are filed against senior officers, and trade of Worldcom’s stock is frozen. In July, Worldcom files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
  • In May, Microsoft announces plans to change its bulk licensing system from one-time upgrade charges to on-going annual fees.
  • On June 25, Matt Jones coins the phrase “warchalking” for using hobo signs to mark local WiFi connections discovered through wardriving.
  • On July 24, AOL surpasses 35 million subscribers.
  • In August, Apple releases “Jaguar,” aka OS X 10.2, an upgrade to Mac OS X.
  • On Dec. 27, eBay bidding for the small town of Bridgeville, California, closes at $1.8 million.
  • George Lucas’ Star Wars: Attack of the Clones becomes the first major movie entirely shot with digital cameras.
  • Sales of DVD players surpass VCR sales for the first time. Also a first, revenues from videogame sales surpass movie box office revenues.
  • The open-source movement gains support overseas when several governments in Europe and Asia consider adopting Linux as their national bureaucracies’ operating system.
  • Layoffs continue throughout the computer industry.

2003

  • In January, AOL co-founder Steve Case announces he will resign as chairman of AOL Time Warner. Since its parent companies merged, the corporation has been struggling to meet revenue projections and investor expectations.
  • On Jan. 15, Google launches the beta version of its Froogle shopping search engine.
  • On Jan. 20, a MORI Research report to the Online Publishers Association shows how “dayparting” – changing content by time of day – helps maintain Web site traffic and audience.
  • On Jan. 25, the “Slammer” worm spreads to infect Microsoft SQL servers all around the world.
  • On Feb. 1, NASA’s space shuttle Columbia disintegrates upon reentry over Texas.
  • On Feb. 15, Google buys Pyra Labs’ Blogger.
  • On Feb. 19, Overture buys Alta Vista and FAST Search in a move to compete against Google.
  • On March 6, SCO Group Inc. sues IBM claiming infringement of Linux code previously considered open source. The move sparks ongoing legal battles and industry-wide debate for UNIX and open source developers.
  • In March, U.S.-led forces attack Iraq. Several journalists are allowed to report while “embedded” with military units. Veteran journalist Peter Arnett is fired by his American employers following an interview he does for Iraqi television. Geraldo Rivera is briefly suspended from covering the war when U.S. military commanders deem the reporter is revealling too much tactical information. By the time U.S. forces seize Baghdad in mid-April, two Western journalists haved died reporting from the battlefields.
  • In March, the Truth in Domain Names Act is introduced in Congress to combat the use of misleading domain names leading to pornographic Web sites.
  • In March, AOL Time Warner limits access the Web versions of several of its magazines, allowing only print version subscribers to read content online.
  • On April 9, the Wall Street Journal reports Worldcom plans to change its name to MCI.
  • In April, Madonna attempts to thwart pirating of her “American Life” album by posting misleading MP3 files online featuring the pop star obscenely scolding would-be listeners. Within days, a hacker replaces the main page of madonna.com, the official site, with multiple download links to the album’s songs and a marriage proposal to Morgan Webb, host of a gaming show on TechTV.
  • In May, the Federal Communications Commission considers relaxing media ownership rules to allow larger companies to own more properties in each market.
  • On May 7, Internet Explorer program manager Brian Countryman says Microsoft will no longer support IE as a stand-alone product separate from Windows upgrades.
  • In May, Apple releases an upgrade to its iTunes software allowing users to purchase individual songs for 99 cents each. The service generates more than $1 million in revenue its first week.
  • On May 29, Microsoft announces it will pay $750 million to AOL Time Warner in settlement of the companies’ feud over their Web browser products, Internet Explorer and Netscape. The two firms also announce plans to partner on future joint ventures.
  • In June, Recording Industry Association of America begins filing lawsuits against hundreds of individuals accused of illegally sharing copyrighted music files over the Internet.
  • In June, Google broadens its offering of Google AdSense to serve keyword-based text ads on other Web sites.
  • In July, the Federal Bureau of Investigation proposes new rules to the FCC which would allow for new Internet eavesdropping.
  • On July 14, Yahoo! announces plans to buy Overture in a move to make the company’s portal product compete directly against Google.com.
  • In July, Friendster.com surpasses 1 million registered users; several other social network Web sites claim rapid growth.
  • In September, the U.S. House of Representatives cuts funding for the Terrorism Information Awareness project which would have allowed the Pentagon to assemble computerized dossiers on Americans.
  • On Sept. 15, VeriSign’s Site Finder program makes non-existent .com and .net domains redirect to the company’s own site. Pressure from critics and threats from ICANN bring VeriSign to reverse the move after a few days.
  • On Sept. 19, the AOL Time Warner board votes to drop “AOL” from the corporation’s name.
  • In October, two researchers at UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business report 14 million U.S. tech jobs are at risk of being outsourced to overseas markets. Among those companies already outsourcing to India are Dell, EDS, General Electric and Microsoft.
  • On Oct. 24, Apple releases “Panther,” aka OS X 10.3, an upgrade to Mac OS X.
  • On Nov. 1, the Internet Tax Freedom Act expires, ending a five-year ban on imposing taxes on Internet access.
  • On Nov. 6, a U.S. federal appeals court renews review of the Microsoft antitrust case, although no decision on final action is made.
  • On Nov. 12, U.S. legislators propose the Artists’ Rights and Theft Prevention Act which would create a penalty of up to three years in prison for file sharers.
  • On Nov. 17, the “Florida Update” of Google’s search algorithm makes pronounced changes to its keyword search result listings.
  • On Dec. 3, the National Cyber Security Summit brings several tech industry leaders to meet with Department of Homeland Security officials on ways to improve national security through the Internet.
  • On Dec. 16, President Bush signs into law the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, better known as the “Can-Spam” bill.
  • According to the Year-End Google Zeitgeist, the most popular keyword queries in 2003 were “britney spears,” “harry potter,” “matrix,” “shakira,” “david beckham,” “50 cent,” “iraq,” “lord of the rings,” “kobe bryant,” and “tour de france.” Among news queries, top keywords were “iraq,” “laci peterson,” “kobe bryant,” “bertrand cantat,” “riaa,” “jessica lynch,” “michael jackson,” “elizabeth smart,” “korea,” and “dixie chicks.”

2004

  • On Jan. 1, the “Can-Spam” Act goes into effect.
  • On Feb. 1, Janet Jackson’s left breast is exposed while performing during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII. The event is reported as the most replayed moment ever measured by TiVo Inc.
  • On Feb. 18, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean ends his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Going into the primaries, Dean was reported as the front-runner in large part due to record-setting campaign fund-raising via the Web and grassroots support from hundreds of bloggers. Dean failed to win a single state primary or caucus.
  • On Feb. 20, Apple introduces the iPod Mini, a smaller version of its MP3 player.

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