- Ted Hoff invents the microprocessor.
- First edition of the UNIX operating system released from Bell Labs. (Various varieties of UNIX follow.)
- Computer engineer Ray Tomlinson sends the first e-mail message and designates “@” as the locator symbol for electronic addresses.
- Nolan Bushnell founds Atari and introduces Pong, the first modern commercial video game. (In 1976, Bushnell sells Atari for $28 million. A year later he opens the first Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant, which he also later sells.)
- MITS releases the first successful personal computer, the Altair. Elsewhere, the 64K RAM mouse-equipped Alto is developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). The Alto would later inspire Steve Jobs at Apple Computers to create the Macintosh.
- Motion Pictures Product Group forms.
- Bill Gates and Paul Allen adapt BASIC to run on the Altair 8800 and sell the interpreter to MITS. By November, Gates and Allen found a new company called Micro-soft.
- The term “data highway” is used in some articles to describe global networking.
- Sony Betamax video cassette recorder released.
- Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs found Apple Computers and introduce the Apple II, the first PC to use color graphics.
- AT&T and Bell Labs construct a prototype cellular phone system; public trials happen a year later.
- JVC VHS videocassettes introduced.
- Atari Video Computer System (VCS/2600) released.
- The first Star Wars movie debuts.
- Taito’s Space Invaders coin-operated videogame sweeps Japan; Bally Midway releases the game in the United States.
- Video laser disc introduced.
- On April 12, Kevin MacKenzie suggests to the MsgGroup they start using text to suggest emotions, like 😉 for meaning something is meant tongue-in-cheek. Despite an initial poor reaction, emoticons become widely used.
- USENET and newsgroup protocols are created by Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis and Steve Bellovin.
- Tokyo becomes the market for the first commercial cellular telephone system.