From Amazon To Zuckerberg: 25 Years Of Technology

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CNET's first headquarters in San Francisco


[/collections/cnet-at-25/ This story is part of CNET at 25, celebrating a quarter century of industry tech and our role in telling you its story.]Twenty-five years ago next month, just as the original dot-com boom was starting to gather steam, CNET was born. That first boom went bust five years later, but the tech industry, while certainly not unscathed, adapted and charged ahead. More of the planet's population went online, small startups like Facebook and [/google/ Google] went on to become industry giants, and [/topics/gadgets/ gadgets] such as [/topics/phones/ phones] and [/topics/laptops/ laptops] got cheaper, smaller, faster and ubiquitous. 

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Celebrating 25 years of CNET


Through it all, CNET was there to tell the stories behind this remarkable industry. Join us as we relive some of the biggest technology stories, products, companies and people of the last quarter century. (As 2020 isn't yet half-old, I don't have an entry for it yet. But I suspect you know [ what's been happening].)

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Start me up: Watch CNET's early coverage of Windows 95,...


CNET's debut wasn't the only thing that made 1995 a big year for the internet. [ ][ to launch an IPO], [ ], [ ][ ] and [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ] browser and [ ]. 

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A look back at the launch of


A quote about the year: "The Internet is the printing press of the technology era." -- [ Jim Barksdale], then-CEO of Netscape

Top films of the year (the three highest-grossing worldwide, according to IMDB): Die Hard With a Vengeance, Toy Story, Apollo 13
The tiny, trendy Motorola StarTac.

[ ] revolutionized handset design with its [ ][ ] Java language, which could run on a variety of computing devices without customization; the first DVD player in Japan; and the birth of Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned. 

A quote about the year: "[/tags/motorola/ Motorola]'s StarTac ST7867W is small, light, and loaded with features. Operating this phone is quite simple, even if you don't read the manual." -- CNET's [/reviews/motorola-startac-st7867w-sprint-review/ Motorola StarTac review]

Top films of the year: Independence Day, Twister, Mission: Impossible 
Gary Kasparov during one of his less successful moments of the chess battle between him and Deep Blue.

Stan Honda/AFP via Getty Images

After a long exile, [ ] [ ] as the company [ ]. [ ][ ][/news/did-a-bug-in-deep-blue-lead-to-kasparovs-defeat/ Gary Kasparov], the first version of [ ][ ][ ][ Grand Theft Auto].

A quote about the year: "I lost my fighting spirit." -- Kasparov [ as quoted] in The New York Times

Top films of the year: Titanic, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Men in Black

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Apple 40th anniversary: Looking back, Apple launches...


1998[ ]
Brett Pearce/CNET

One of the first products designed by [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ] [/news/ebay-ceo-meg-whitman-to-step-down/ began her decade in the top role at eBay]. In Washington DC, [ ] in an antitrust trial and Congress passed the [ ], which extended the reach of copyright law online while limiting the liability of ISPs for copyright infringement by their users. 

A quote about the year: "The internet-age computer for the rest of us." -- [/apple/ Apple] CEO Steve Jobs [/news/apple-anounces-quotconsumer-quot-imac-new-g3-powerbooks/ announcing] the new iMac

Top films of the year: Armageddon, Saving Private Ryan, Godzilla 
A Napster screenshot from 2001.

Wikimedia Commons

As the millennium neared, the tech industry and governments around the world spent hundreds of billions of dollars to ready computers for the year 2000 date change and the potential chaos that might be caused by code that relied on only two digits to denote years. Thanks to that investment, the [ ][ a laughably bad TV movie]. This year also saw the launch of both the first Bluetooth device and [ ][ John Hamre]

Top films of the year: Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace, The Sixth Sense, Toy Story 2
Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer at the All Things D conference.

Dan Farber/CNET

Fed by eye-watering venture capital investments in startups the likes of [ ][ ][/tags/microsoft/ Microsoft], [ ] [ ] to [ ] before shifting his focus to his charitable foundation. The millennium also brought us the [ ], the first USB flash drive and the first camera phone, [ ].

A quote about the year: "The online retail space is the last place investors want to be today." -- Jupiter Research analyst Ken Cassar [ as quoted] in The New York Times

Top films of the year: Mission: Impossible 2, Gladiator, Cast Away
Unlike (the very few) other digital music players at the time, the first iPod was portable, it had a high capacity and a mechanical scroll wheel.


Apple launched both [ ][ ] and opened the [ ] in Tysons, Virginia. All three initiatives rocketed the company out of the computing space and hastened its legendary comeback. [ ], AOL and Time Warner [ ], the [ ] wracked havoc across the internet and Microsoft released [ ] and the [ ][ announcing] the new iPod

Top films of the year: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, Monsters, Inc
The iRobot Roomba S9+ is a descendant of the original Roomba, one of the first smart appliances.

Brian Bennett/CNET

A frisbee-shaped robot vacuum called the [ ][ ] of [ ]. [ ][ ][ ] to purchase Compaq and Napster [ ]. Months after [ ], eBay [ ][ largest shareholder] before the sale? A guy called [ ].

A quote about the year: "Walter [Hewlett] is a good and decent man. And he has a right to disagree. But we have every right to disagree with him, too." -- Fiorina [/news/walter-hewlett-ally-takes-fiorina-to-task/ in a speech] at a 2002 Goldman Sachs Technology conference

Top films of the year: The Lord of the Rings: The Twin Towers, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Spider-Man
The BlackBerry 6210 kicked off a new way to work out of the office.


After years of building pagers, RIM introduced its first real smartphone, the [ ]. (On the earlier 5810, you had to use a headset to make calls.) With it, the "crackberry" physical keyboard and "BlackBerry thumb" for email addicts were born. On the internet, [ ][ ] and the debut of [ ][ ][/news/new-lease-on-life-for-friendster/ speaking to CNET] in 2006

Top films of the year: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Finding Nemo, The Matrix Reloaded