A capsule history of online news and information systems
by David Carlson
© 1999-2009 All Rights Reserved

Select a decade
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1995-99

1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Year U.K. U.S. & Canada Europe Asia/Other
1995   Jan. 20: Mercury Center Web launches, complete with advertising. Spain: at least 40,000 people have access to the Internet and some estimates say 200,000 Spanish people have access. Aug. 24: Singapore's New Straits Times reports  Asian newspapers such as the Singapore Business Times,  Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald have news  available on the Web.
1995
con't
  Nando.net reports having 12 employees, 600 paying subscribers at $20 a month and some 7,700 users on 95 telephone lines. Germany: AOL announces in February it will team with German media firm Bertlesmann to offer online services in Europe.  
1995
con't
  March: Chicago Tribune's first Web site, a classified ad service called Career Finder, ramps up. Switzerland: CERN holds a two-day Web seminar for reporters. Some 250 European media attend.  
1995
con't
  March 24: Prodigy declares its first-ever profit, after cutting workforce to 550 from a high of 1,350.    
1995
con't
  April 19: Eight major newspaper publishing companies announce formation of New Century Network, an online advertising and content consortium. Spain: In late March, “Avui” becomes the first Spanish daily to publish on the Internet. It is a paper from Barcelona, written in Catalan. Link  
1995
con't
  April: USA Today launches a direct-dialup service that actually is hosted on CompuServe.    
1995
con't
  The Pentium Pro processor is released by Intel. Speeds begin at 150 MHz.    
1995
con't
  StarNet from the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson debuts on the Internet. The Star also is an ISP.    
1995
con't
  May: More than 150 newspapers now have online editions, Quill reports.    
1995
con't
  Consumer online  services (Compuserve, America Online, Prodigy) begin to provide limited Internet E-mail and USENET news.    
1995
con't
  June 10: Rupert Murdoch says he'll put all of News Corp.'s 130 papers online within two years. Spain: “La Vanguardia” a  Barcelona daily written in Spanish, launches "La Vanguardia Electronica de Barcelona," its Web edition in June.  
1995
con't
  Consumer online services experience 64% growth rate in 1995 and now reach 8.5 million members.    
1995
con't
  June 18: Minneapolis Star Tribune Online launches on Interchange. Screen shot    
1995
con't
  July: Microsoft launches its online service, the Microsoft Network, or MSN. Charter subscriber pricing is $5.95 a month.
Screen shot
   
1995
con't
  July 17: Washington Post's service, renamed Digital Ink, debuts on Interchange, which has been bought by AT&T.    
1995
con't
  July 31: Knight-Ridder closes its Information Design Lab in Boulder. It was founded in 1992 to spur development of a flat-panel interactive newspaper. Spain: “El Diario Vasco,” a daily newspaper, starts a weekly edition on the Internet on Aug. 1.  
1995
con't
 

August: Microsoft releases Windows 95.

Microsoft launches Internet Explorer, version 1.0.

   
1995
con't
  Aug. 21: Gannett's USA Today begins offering its content free via the World Wide Web.    
1995
con't
September: London's first cybercafe, "Cafe Internet," opens. Aug. 28: StarText, the oldest newspaper BBS, announces it will begin a transition to the Web. Spain: “ABC,” a national daily from Madrid, starts “ABC Electrónico” on the Web in September. Also “Diario 16 de Galicia” goes on the Internet this month. December: Among Asian newspapers on the Web are: The China Daily, Utusan Malaysia,  Kompas of Indonesia,  Asahi Shimbun of Japan.
1995
con't
  October: The Boston Globe launches Boston.com on the Web, a unique site bringing most Boston media online at a single site.    
1995
con't
  October: Careerpath.com, a joint jobs database, is launched by six major newspapers, the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, San Jose Mercury News and Washington Post. Spain:  “El Correo Gallego” launches an Internet new site on Oct. 12.  
1995
con't
  November: The Arizona Republic launches Arizona Central on AOL, months after opening its first Web site with lodging, golf and dining guides rather than newspaper content. Germany: CompuServe shuts access to some 200 Internet newsgroups after German prosecutors charge it with distributing pornography.  
1995
con't
  Nov. 20: Microsoft Network hits 500,000 subscriber mark. August: Germany.net is launched as a free, advertising -supported ISP.  
1995
con't
  Editor & Publisher reports there are about 330 newspapers online: 38 BBSs, 45 affiliated with AOL, Prodigy or CompuServe and 230 on the Internet. August: Online newspaper services worldwide: U.S. 208, Europe 56, Latin/South America 16, Canada 16, Asia 11, Australia/New Zealand 5, Africa 2, The Middle East 1. Asia boasts 11 online newspapers, mostly on the Web.
1995
con't
    November: AOL-Germany launches in partnership with publisher Bertelsmann, AG.  
1995
con't
  November: Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 2.0, its first serious Web browser, and gives it away free in challenge to Netscape's Navigator. Spain:  “El Diario Vasco,” already offering a weekly Web edition, starts a daily Web edition.  
1995
con't
  December: AOL passes the 4 million subscriber mark. Spain: Europa Press news agency announces a project to publish on the Internet. To develop it, they make an alliance with Telefonica.  
1996   January: Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin begin work on the search engine's predecessor, BackRub.    
1996
con't
January: AOL launches its service in the UK. It attracts 150,000 subscribers by April 1997. Jan. 21: The New York Times on the Web opens to the public. Registration is required, but access is free to U.S. residents. France: AOL launches its French service in March.  
1996
con't
January: The UK is said to have about 200 ISPs who share about 100,000 users. January: AT&T announces it will close Interchange, which it bought from publisher Ziff-Davis in 1995 for $50 million. Luxembourg: Europe Online declares bankruptcy on Aug. 2 with $40 million in debts and 25,000 subscribers.  
1996
con't
  February: Chicago Tribune announces it turned a profit in 1995 with Chicago Online, its AOL service, which now has 201,000 subscribers. France Telecom says it will provide Internet access anywhere in France for the cost of a local call.  
1996
con't
  The Onion, a Wisconsin-based satirical newspaper, launches its Internet edition and instantly gains international recognition with headlines like "Clinton Deploys Vowels to Bosnia: Cities of Sjlbvdnzv, Grzny to Be First Recipients."    
1996
con't
  February: AOL hits the 5 million member mark.    
1996
con't
  March 14: Chicago Tribune launches its full-newspaper Web site.    
1996
con't
  April: NAA reports about 175 North American dailies are currently available on the World Wide Web. About 775 publications are available online worldwide. LeMonde, France's largest daily, launches its Web site.  
1996
con't
  May 1: The Associated Press begins beta testing "the Wire," its proprietary Web site viewable only through a member newspaper's site. Spain: “El País,” Spain's leading daily newspaper, launches its first site on the World Wide Web on May 4.   
1996
con't
  May: Wall Street Journal launches its Interactive Edition, a pay Web site. Cost: $49.95 a year.    
1996
con't
  Summer: Microsoft launches Internet Explorer, version 3.0.    
1996
con't
May: UK Modem sales rise 66 percent to 4.51 million units in 1996. May: Prodigy is sold to International Wireless Corp. for an estimated $200 million. IBM and Sears have invested about $1.2 billion.    
1996
con't
  June 15: The Washington Post and Minneapolis Star Tribune launch Web sites as their Interchange offerings ramp down. France: Paris boasts 15 cybercafes by June 1.  
1996
con't
  June 30: AOL releases its Version 3.0 software. Rates are $9.95 for 5 hours per month or $19.95 for 20 hours. Extra hours are $2.95 each.    
1996
con't
  July: San Jose Mercury News announces it will leave AOL and concentrate on its Mercury Center Web efforts. Spain: Europa Press and its partner Telefonica launch a Web site.  
1996
con't
  July: Microsoft and NBC partner and launch a cable TV channel and online news service called MSNBC.    
1996
con't
  Aug. 7: Overwhelmed with traffic, AOL crashes for nearly a whole day. It is nicknamed "America Offline." September: CompuServe claims more than 800,000 users in Europe, mostly in Germany, France and Britain.  
1996
con't
  September: AOL, its stock having split three times in three years, moves trading to the New York Stock Exchange. The price hovers around $2, but begins to climb.    
1996
con't
  October: The Associated Press launches AP Online, a wire service to provide content for online newspapers. Luxembourg: Europe Online comes back as a non-profit corporation on Oct. 10.  
1996
con't
  Oct. 21: Microsoft announces it will relaunch MSN with some content free to Internet users and "TV-like" content "channels."   Internet connections expand 300 percent in Brazil during 1996.
1996
con't
  Oct. 30: AOL breaks the longtime consumer online service business model by announcing flat-rate pricing: $19.95 per month for unlimited access. Germany: T-Online is Europe's biggest online service with 1.2 million users. It grows by 20,000 plus each month.  
1996
con't
  Dec. 1996: Macromedia releases Flash 1.0 after the company purchases FutureWave.    
1997   February: Several states threaten to sue AOL because subscribers can't get through. AOL, plagued by busy signals, agrees to give refunds to millions of users. Minitel use peaks at with about 6 million terminals, according to the Washington Post. Prodigy creates Africa Online, the largest ISP on the continent.
1997
con't
March: The queen unveils the royal Web site, www.royal.gov.uk April: Largest consumer online services are AOL, 8 million, CompuServe, 5.3 million, Microsoft Network, 2 million, and Prodigy, 1 million.   April: Prodigy launches its service — with Internet access — in Shanghai on mainland China.
1997
con't
  April 15: Prodigy announces it will focus on being an Internet service provider and ramp down its consumer online service. Germany: T-Online, Deutsch Telekom's online service, boasts 1.2 million members.  
1997
con't
  September: Microsoft releases Internet Explorer version 4.0.    
1997
con't
  Sept. 8: Worldcom buys CompuServe for $1.2 billion and, in a complex deal, AOL ends up with CompuServe's content and its 2.6 million users.    
1997
con't
  Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 4.0 in stepped-up challenge to Netscape, whose share of browser market slips for the first time to less than 66 percent of users.    
1997
con't
  October: U.S. Justice Department sues Microsoft alleging it is a monopolist.    
1997
con't
November: BBC News launches its Web news site, news.bbc.co.uk Nov. 14: The Pulitzer prize board opens the public-service prize competition to articles published online - but they must be entered on "a single CD-ROM."    
1997
con't
  November: America Online hits the 10-million subscriber mark.    
1998   Feb. 10: America Online announces it will raise its monthly fee $2 to $21.95 for unlimited access.   High-definition television, or HD-TV, rolls out in Japan. Sets can cost $10,000.
1998
con't
April 13: Microsoft says it will shut down the Irish section of MSN and tells subscribers to sign up with Ireland OnLine. February: AOL buys CompuServe for an undisclosed price..   Internet access finally is allowed by the government of  Tunisia in North Africa.
1998
con't
  June 25: Months behind schedule and plagued by an antitrust lawsuit, Microsoft releases Windows 98.    
1998
con't
  July 14: New York Times ends charges to overseas users of its New York Times on the Web. The number of newspapers written in Spanish has increased 41% in the last year, from 230 to 325, according to Spain's  “El Pais.” Some 93 are in Mexico and 54 are in Spain.  
1998
con't
  Sept. 7: Google, Inc. established in Menlo Park, CA. Number of Internet users in Spain: 2,247,000, according to "El Pais." Number of daily accesses of Spanish online newspapers: 150,000. October: PubliNet, Tunisia's first cybercafe, opens in Tunis, but access to some sites is mysteriously blocked.
1998
con't
  November: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is established.    
1999   January: America Online says it has added 4 million members in a single month, taking its total to 14 million.    
1999
con't
  February: One-quarter of U.S. newspaper Web sites are said to be profitable at E&P's Interactive Newspapers '99 conference.    
1999
con't
  March: Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 5.0.    
1999
con't
  March: America Online buys Netscape Communications, the company whose browser first popularized the World Wide Web. AOL stock hits $73.50.    
1999
con't
  The New York Times says it will discontinue its @Times product on America Online.    
1999
con't
  Nov. 5: After a year-long antitrust suit, a federal court finds that Microsoft has a monopoly.    
1999
con't
  Nov. 10: Chicago Tribune says it will stop producing its AOL edition, concentrating on its Web presence. It continues, however, Digital Cities Chicago on AOL.    
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

Select another decade
1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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