January 29, 1988
The computer game Tetris makes its first appearance in the United States as a PC game. The company that released the game was Spectrum Holobyte, which had dubious licensing rights to the game. When companies became interested in licensing Tetris for other platforms besides the PC, a series of events kicked off a long legal battle, in which the big winner was eventually Nintendo, who used the game Tetris to drive sales of its new Game Boy platform.
January 29, 1989
The USSR’s Phobos II enters Martian orbit on its way to the moon Phobos. The spacecraft never completed its mission as it lost contact with mission control on March 27. Due to some unusual last photos received from Phobos II, speculation arose that it was destroyed by a UFO. Official reports blame the failure on the onboard computer. I wonder if mission control was trying to secure the Martian licensing rights to Tetris.
January 28, 1998
Radio Shack partners exclusively with Compaq rather than IBM to sell PCs throughout their 7,000 stores. Six years later, IBM sold its PC division to the Chinese company Lenovo. Compaq was the exclusive PC sold in Radio Shack stores for many years.
January 28, 1999
Yahoo! buys GeoCities for $3.65 billion USD. GeoCities was an early web hosting service getting its start in 1994. As a testament to its popularity, there were at least 38 million pages remaining on GeoCities when Yahoo! shut it down in 2009.
January 27, 2010
Apple introduces the iPad. While still only a few years old, the introduction of the iPad triggered the close of the PC era and will certainly go down in history as one of the pivotal points in computing history.
January 27, 1994
Silicon Graphics Inc. co-founder Jim Clark leaves the company to start Mosaic Communications, the operation that later became Netscape Communications Corp. With Netscape cofounder Marc Andreesen, Clark helped popularize the World Wide Web by distributing the company’s browser for free.
Janaury 27, 1880
Thomas Edison patents the electric incandescent lamp. While other incandescent lamps were created before his, Edison’s version was able to outstrip the others because of a combination of three factors: an effective incandescent material, a higher vacuum than others were able to achieve (by use of the Sprengel pump) and a high resistance that made power distribution from a centralized source economically viable.