April 13, 2000
The heavy metal group Metallica sues Napster, alleging copyright infringement and racketeering. This lawsuit, later joined by Dr. Dre, as well as other lawsuits from the RIAA, eventually caused the original Napster service to shut down and file bankruptcy. However, the Pandora’s Box that Napster opened could not be closed and digital distribution changed the music industry forever.
As for Metallica, their reputation was tarnished for some time by this move. Ironically, Metallica owed much of their early popularity to the spread of unauthorized copies of their early albums. As the heavy metal genre in general and Metallica in particular did not get much airplay at that time, it was reported that Metallica quietly encouraged the free spread of their music in the early 80’s. Therefore many viewed Metallica’s action against Napster as hypocritical and greedy.
April 5, 1995
Dan Farmer and Wietse Venema release to the Internet the Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks, known by its acronym, SATAN. SATAN is a network scanner for investigating the vulnerability of remote systems. Designed for use by network administrators, the program will soon generate controversy over the ethics of freely releasing powerful security tools to the general public. And it didn’t please the Church Lady one bit, either.
April 4, 1994
Ironically, 19 years to the day after Microsoft was formed, Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark create the Mosaic Communications Corporation, which will later be renamed Netscape Communications Corporation. Andreessen had developed the Mosaic web browser while working at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois.
April 1, 2004
The now ubiquitous Gmail service is launched as an invitation-only beta service. At first met with skepticism due to it being launched on April Fool’s Day, the ease of use and speed that Gmail offered for a web-based e-mail service quickly won converts. The fact that Gmail was invitiation-only for a long time helped fueled a mystique that those who had a Gmail address were hip and uber-cool. Those of us who are actually hip and uber-cool didn’t mind, of course, as those types of things don’t bother hip and uber-cool people.
March 26, 1999
The first e-mail virus to cause widespread damage and one of the fastest spreading viruses in history, Melissa was released into the wild on an early Friday morning and within three days would infect between 100,000 and 250,000 computers around the world. While the virus did not directly cause any damage, the sheer volume of e-mail that it generated crashed many corporate *cough* Microsoft *cough* e-mail servers.
March 21, 2006
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sends the world’s first (non-automated) tweet:
A note to future entrepreneurs: when doing the “first” of anything, it may be for posterity so try to be interesting. Kthnx.
March 20, 2005
Yahoo acquires the company Ludicorp along with its popular photo-sharing site Flickr. It is reported that Flickr currently hosts more than 5 billion photos.
March 19, 1986
The domains ibm.com and sun.com come online. These domains are considered the 11th and 12th oldest domains in history.
March 16, 1995
The worlds first Wiki, WikiWikiWeb was created as Ward Cunningham invites people to add and edit content. A Wiki is a database that can be a community collaboration. Cunningham has said the inspiration for the name Wiki came from the Wiki Wiki Shuttle bus he learned of during a trip to Hawaii. Six years later, Wikipedia is launched, although Cunningham has no official involvement.
March 15, 1985
The first Internet domain symbolics.com is registered by Symbolics, a Massachusetts computer company.