This week in tech history

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  • A look back on the biggest things that happened this week throughout the history of tech.


    20 November, 1985 – Microsoft ships the first version of Windows

    Two years after its initial announcement, the first version of Windows was shipped by Microsoft on this date in 1985. Because of the delay (it was originally scheduled to be shipped in April 1984) many sceptics accused Windows of being “vapourware”.  Windows 1.0 was considered to be slow at the time, and it wasn’t until Windows 3 when Microsoft started generating significant sales through the operating system.

    21 November, 1877 – Edison invents the phonograph

    American inventor Thomas Edison stumbled upon one of his greatest inventions whilst working on a way to record telephone communication at his laboratory. The invention, known as the phonograph was a machine that could record and play sound. Edison set aside this invention in 1878 to work on the incandescent light bulb, whilst other inventors made improvements on the phonograph. In 1887, Edison resumed work on the device, and although the phonograph was initially used as a dictating machine, it proved to be a popular tool for entertainment, with Edison unveiling a series of musical and theatrical selections to the public through his National Phonograph Company in 1906.

    22 November, 1963 – John F. Kennedy’s assassination caught on camera

    President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on this day as he passed through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas. On this day, a spectator known as Abraham Zapruder unknowingly filmed the assignation on his 8mm home-movie camera, contributing to one of the 20th century's earliest and most significant pieces of user-generated content. Although the film was not only one to show the shooting, it has been called the most complete, as it gave a relatively clear view from a somewhat elevated position on the side from which the president's head wound was visible. 

    23 November, 2004 – The most popular video game is released

    On this date, the most popular online game in history known as World of Warcraft was released. Released by Blizzard Entertainment, World of Warcraft was the fourth released game set in the fantasy ‘Warcraft universe. The game was initially announced for release by Blizzard Entertainment on 2 September, 2001, with the actual release not taking place until 23 November, 2004, on the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise.

    24 November, 1998 – AOL joins forces with Netscape Communications

    Web portal and online service provider AOL announced it would buy American computer services company Netscape Communications in a stock-for-stock deal worth about $4.2 billion (£3.2 billion). The move was considered at the time as an attempt for the two companies to jointly better compete with Microsoft. However, Microsoft couldn’t be stopped and its dominance in the personal computer market lead to the Netscape browser losing almost all market share to Internet Explorer. A monopoly lawsuit was settled between Microsoft and AOL in 2003, for $750 million (£563 million) over the loss of value of Netscape.

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