This Week In Techdirt History
from the way-way-back dept
Five Years Ago:
Let's kick this one off with a bang. Five years ago, the CEO of Sony Pictures, Michael Lynton said, in public, "I'm a guy who doesn't see anything good having come from the internet. Period." Believe it or not... he's still in that job today. And we wonder why Hollywood seems to have so much trouble learning how to embrace the internet. On the more optimistic side, we wrote about the amazing power of people on the internet making all sorts of great content. Those two stories show quite a bit of contrast in outlooks.
We also wrote about an Obama advisor who was all excited about how the FCC would be under Julius Genachowski. While we had been skeptical previously, we were briefly hopeful that maybe some good tech policy would happen... though our hopes were quickly dashed by reality.
These were the days before Prenda and Malibu Media, so instead we were talking about ACS:Law, which was basically Prenda's role model over in Europe. It was discovered that Elsevier had a whole division publishing fake medical journals to keep big pharma happy. Oh yeah, and the early days of the lawsuit that would eventually kill off gene patents.
Ten Years Ago:
People were still arguing that no one would want a camera in their phone. The FBI was worried about an evil reclusive millionaire who turned out to... only exist in a video game. Perhaps that's because the $600 million computer system they were building (which was already way over budget) was useless at finding terrorists (that story went on for a few more years, and eventually the system was scrapped entirely -- but not before some computer science experts suggested going on a crime spree the day the system launched...).
Also ten years ago: IBM talked about its plans to launch a web-based office suite in those days before Google Docs came along. Oh yeah, and blogging pioneers Movable Type basically priced themselves out of the market, opening the door to Wordpress to become the blogging platform of choice for many.
Fifteen Years Ago:
Sony decided to sell robotic dogs. I thought the idea sounded crazy, but the Aibo was a big deal for many years. Also the remains of Pointcast were sold off for $10 million. If you weren't around in the mid-90s, you may not remember this, but Pointcast was the "big" internet company with its "push technology." At one point, it was rumored to have turned down an acquisition offer of $500 million. More to the point, this $10 million sale came just two years after a Wired cover story arguing that the web was dead and push technology like Pointcast would replace it. Oh, the good old days of hype. Finally, kicking off yet another bad decision, Yahoo was trying to expand into the enterprise portal business.
That's all for this week in Techdirt history...