from the prototyping-today dept
Time for another look back through Techdirt history.
Five Years Ago...
This week in 2009, we launched the original Techdirt CwF+RtB offering. It was a set of tiered rewards inspired by the creative experiments we saw so many musicians and other artists trying, and in time it would grow into the Insider Shop of today.
Remember when the Associated Press hatched an ill-fated scheme to DRM the news? Yup, it was only five years ago, even though — as we pointed out the same week — newspapers haven't truly charged for news in 180 years, and their true fear (that Google was raking in cash off the backs of their content) wasn't exactly true.
Conversely, the world was starting to realize that YouTube wasn't the profit-sink many people believed it to be. Of course, not all media companies had figured out how to use it, with Disney using copyright to pull a trailer for its own movie from YouTube in a moment of critically forgetting the point of advertising. And while Disney was shooting its own foot, a growing number of artists were complaining that their labels were shooting their feet for them by taking down all their music videos. Examples like these made it doubly absurd when the director of the Australasian Performing Right Association tried to claim that "without the content industries, the internet would be empty".
Ten Years Ago...
This week in 2004 was a time of dangerous tech legislation being pushed at every opportunity (not that we ever get much respite from such attempts). On one hand, congress was racing its way through anti-spyrware legislation with little thought given to the true consequences. On the other hand, it was also grappling with the INDUCE Act to outlaw P2P systems, which Sen. Orrin Hatch essentially admitted was wrong, but supported anyway.
AT&T Wireless launched 3G service (under slightly odd circumstances), while pressure from attorneys general convinced all the wireless players to start revealing their coverage maps. Verizon, for its part, was also heavily focused on fiber — and making some claims that raised skeptical eyebrows.
But, perhaps the most plain and drastic change: this week in 2004 we reported on the massive growth of the internet in China, where the number of users had just hit 87-million people. Today that number is 632-million.
Fifteen Years Ago...
Anyone remember the online grocery delivery service Webvan? This week in 1999 it was valued at $4-billion (within only two years, it would be bankrupt and go down as one of the largest dot-com flops in history). And what about online retailer CDNow? This week they sued Lycos over an advertising spat.
This was also the week that Apple launched the very first iBook (the candy-colored clamshell one). On the far opposite end of the scale, Compaq shocked people by selling computers at the low price of $299.
Microsoft decided to enter the instant messaging game in 1999. The hook for their offering was that it could inter-communicate with AOL Messenger users — a feature that AOL wasted no time in blocking.
226 Years Ago...
This week, it's a milestone in music history: on July 25, 1788, Mozart completed his Symphony No. 40 in G minor. Of course, since it's now long out of copyright, it's lost all value and has been almost completely forgotten, left to dwindle in the public domain where proper money-making works go to die. After all, you've never ever heard this song, have you?