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section heading icon     1977 to 1989

This page of the timeline covers -

section marker     1977

Beaverbrook Newspapers sold to Trafalgar House

Rivest, Shamir & Adleman publish RSA algorithm

Star Wars

QUBE interactive cable tv trial in Ohio

Apple II PC offers colour and floppy disk instead of cassette tapes

Software Development Labs (later Oracle) founded

Candle Corporation founded

JD Edwards founded

Mary Whitehouse uses blasphemy law to prosecute Gay News

first ATM in Australia

section marker     1978

Bulletin Board software

DPP v Camplin [UK]

IBM's 801 computer

Commonwealth abolishes death and gift duties

point-&-shoot camera

CYCLADES network in France closed

telephone cards introduced in Italy

Group 2 fax standard introduced

section marker     1979

Compuserve launches first commercial Bulletin Board (BBN) service

125 million phone subscriber lines in US

Knight-Ridder launches Viewtron

3Com founded

fall of Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia

George Atkinson's Video Station is first video rental store in US

ANZ buys Bank of Adelaide

Eisenstein's The Printing Press As An Agent Of Change

WordStar released

UK Williams Committee report on Obscenity & Film Censorship

Internet Configuration Control Board (ICCB) established

European Monetary System created

GEC buys Avery

MRI founded by Timothy Joyce

Whitehouse v Lemon ('Gay News case')

section marker     1980

number of computers in US exceeds one million

Microsoft DOS version 1.0

Berners-Lee writes "Enquire Within" program

international electronic fax service

CNN 24-hour news channel

US Supreme Court upholds right to patent living organism (Diamond v Chakrabarty)

Michael Porter's Competitive Strategy

WordStar is first PC word processor

UN Convention for the International Sale of Goods (CISG)

Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet

first compact discs

Fritz Machlup's Knowledge: Its Creation, Distribution & Economic Significance

Chandler's Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business

OECD Information Privacy Principles (IPP)

laptop computer

Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain buys 33% of Olivetti and 51% of Compagnie des Machines Bull

Group 3 digital fax standard introduced

section marker     1981

Minitel launched in France

Lagardere buys Hachette

GTE sells electronics holdings to Philips

US General Accounting Office predicts that email will put two-thirds of postal workers out of work by 2000

US businesses uses 850 billion pages of paper

21,000 industrial robots in use in Japan v 6,000 in US

launch of Space Shuttle and MTV

first Nintendo home video game

invention of the computer mouse

Rutt coins the term 'snail mail'

Microsoft provides software for IBM personal computers

Miller describes Domain Name System (DNS)

Osborne Computer founded

Silicon Graphics founded

British Telecommunications Act establishes British Telecom as public corporation independent of Post Office

launch of Australian Bibliographic Network (ABN)

Liquorland, Claude Fay Cellars and Mac The Slasher acquired by Coles

Myer buys Country Road, Crittendens, San Remo and Red Rooster

Cable & Wireless privatised by UK government

Mercury Communications formed in UK

GTE sells electronics operations to Philips

Coles buys Edward Fay and Ezywalkin

National Bank of Australasia merges with Commercial Banking Company of Sydney to form National Australia Bank (NAB)

section marker     1982

US government drops 1969 antitrust case against IBM

USA Today typeset in regional plants via satellite

first PC Local Area Network

Compaq founded

Sun Microsystems founded

UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain nationalised, Honeywell sells most of stake in Compagnie des Machines Bull

NEC absorbs NEC Sylvania joint venture

Sky Channel (first European satellite TV channel) launched

Kodak camera uses film on a disk

Italy's Videotel (modelled on France's Minitel) underwhelms consumers

first international ARPANET nodes - UCL (UK) and NORSAR (Norway)

European Unix Network (EUNet) and European Academic & Research Network (EARN) established

200 computers connected to the internet worldwide

Australian Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI)

New Zealand Official Information Act 1982

Canadian Access to Information Act

Lotus 1-2-3

Scott Fahlman devises 'smiley' emoticon in email

Depository Institutions Act in US

3.4 phones per 100 Italians

2.5m phone subscribers in China

merger of Bank of NSW with Commercial Bank of Australia to form Westpac

section marker     1983

ICCB restructured as Internet Activities Board (IAB) with Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and Internet Research Task Force (IRTF)

ARPANET officially switched from NCP protocol to TCP/IP

Myer buys Grace Bros retail group

ARPANET split into ARPANET and MILNET subnets

number of computers in US exceeds ten million

Poyner's Design Against Crime

mobile phone network starts in US

Cisco founded

Levitt's The Globalization of Markets

Sequent founded

establishment of Australian National Film & Sound Archive

Carlton & United Breweries absorbs Tooth, is then acquired by Elders IXL agrifoods conglomerate

Borland International founded

Time magazine names computer as 'Man of the Year'

AT&T forced to break up

American videotext service starts but fails in three years

Ithiel de Sola Pool's Technologies of Freedom

Fairfax buys David Syme

Compagnie des Machines Bull sells stake in Olivetti

Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER)

GTE buys US Sprint from Southern Pacific

BCE established

Philips buys lamps operations of Westinghouse

section marker     1984


Trintex videotext service joint venture established by IBM, CBS and Sears Roebuck (becomes Prodigy online service provider in 1988)

Long Distance Discount Service (LDDS) formed in US, later becomes WorldCom

UK government sells 50% of British Telecom shares

Cisco founded

BHP buys UTAH mining group

William Gibson coins term 'cyberspace' in Neuromancer

Coles buys Katies chain

CD Walkman

Myer buys Boans

ANZ buys Grindlays Bank plc

deregulation of Australian banking industry

US Federal Appeals Court legalises nationwide ATM networks

first PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) - Psion Organiser

Sky TV, first UK satellite TV channel


Apple Macintosh, IBM PC AT

32-bit microprocessor and one megabyte memory chip

public float of Reuters

MIPS Computer Systems founded

Prodigy online service provider launched by IBM, CBS and Sears

federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 in Australia

section marker     1985

Machlup's Information Science: An Analysis of Methodological Issues and Interdisciplinary Relationships

Minsky's The Society of Mind

Microsoft ships Windows 1.0

IBM earns US$6.6bn on revenue of US$50bn

Commonwealth Department of Science's National Information Policy paper disappears without trace

Murdoch buys 20th Century Fox and Metromedia broadcasting stations

first colour photocopiers

ANZ buys Barclays operations in Fiji and Vanuatu

AOL founded

NeXT founded

Murdoch becomes US citizen, triggering wide media changes in Australia

merger of Coles and Myer to form ColesMyer retail conglomerate

Sterling Software buys Informatics Inc for US$135m

symbolic.com (or think.com) becomes first registered dot-com domain

car-based cellular phones in US

average US TV viewing peaks at 7 hours 10 minutes per day

US TV networks begin satellite distribution to affiliates

pay-per-view channels open for business in US

20% of US households have VCRs

CIT-Alcatel and Thomson Télécommunications merge as Alcatel

10 million microwave ovens sold in US

section marker     1986

CompuServe purchased by H&R Block for US$23m

3 million Minitel terminals in use in France

3.65m phone subscribers in China

first fiber-optic cable across English Channel activated

first first CeBIT exhibition in Hannover

Aldus introduces PageMaker, first page design software

US business uses 2.5 trillion pages of paper

number of computers in US exceeds 30 million

3.5% of Italian families have a VCR

General Motors buys EDS

Volkswagen buys SEAT

Elders IXL buys Courage Brewing in UK

Computer Usage Corporation (CUC) goes bankrupt

Ameritech buys Applied Data Research for US$215m

Hollinger buys UK Daily Telegraph

General Electric buys RCA

Capital Cities Communications buys American Broadcasting network for US$3.5 billion to create Capital Cities-ABC

United Telephone and GTE agree to merge long-distance telecom subsidiaries into US Sprint

HBO scrambles its signals

cable shopping networks

Knight-Ridder closes Viewtron

Burroughs merges with Sperry to form Unisys

Academic American Encyclopedia is first major reference work published on CD-ROM

Microsoft Windows 1.0

Australian Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission Act

Beniger's The Control Revolution: Technological & Economic Origins of the Information Society

Schiller's Information & the Crisis Economy

Commonwealth introduces capital gains tax and fringe benefits tax

Murdoch's News sells stake in Network Ten Holdings to Westfield Capital Corporation for $840m

Westfield subsidiary Northern Star buys other stations, establishes TEN tv network

section marker     1987

10,000 hosts on the net

first debit card in UK

93% of USSR households have tv

Ted Turner launches CNN

Elders IXL buys Carling O'Keefe in Canada

ColesMyer spins off Country Road

Black Monday on London Stock Exchange

Siemens withdraws from music recording business

PeopleSoft founded

creation of Honeywell-Bull

New Zealand Post Office split into NZ Telecom, NZ Post and PostBank

Apple spins off application software business as Claris

Teleglobe Canada privatised

est. 1 million mobile phone subscribers in US

Murdoch buys Herald & Weekly Times group, Harper & Row and South China Morning Post

Bond gives Packer $1 billion for Nine television network

Warwick Fairfax unsuccessfully privatises Fairfax group

National Semiconductor buys Fairchild

France Telecom separated from French Post & Telephone Administration

Westpac Letters affair

section marker     1988

Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

Western Union divests telecommunications assets in favour of funds transfers and finance services

first internet worm

4.7 million microcomputers, 120,000 minicomputers and 11,500 mainframes sold in US

Basel Capital Accord

first transatlantic fibre optic cable completed

United buys controlling interest in Sprint from GTE

US National Center for Biotechnology Information founded

Reserve Bank of Australia releases world's first plastic banknotes

Australia New Zealand CER Services Protocol

Commonwealth Privacy Act

Coles Myer buys Shoey's chain and Progressive Enterprises (New Zealand), sells Fays and Ezywalkin

Prodigy videotex service

BCE's ALEX videotext service

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) established

NYNEX buys AGS Information Services

GPT joint venture formed by GEC and Plessey

section marker     1989

Clifford Stoll's The Cuckoo's Egg

Tetrahedron Computer Methodology is first science journal published in electronic form only

100,000 hosts on the net

premiere of The Simpsons

Berlin Wall comes down, stasiland crumbles

ITT sells telecommunications products business to Alcatel

Carnegie-Mellon's Deep Thought v Kasparov

Cosser buys control of Ten Network from Lowy for $22 million (lent by Lowy) and Qintex Group goes bust

GridPad laptop features touch-sensitive pad that recognizes handwriting

launch of Murdoch's SkyTV in UK

Time merges with Warner

Sony buys Columbia Pictures

AMP buys London Life (founded 1806)

AT&T buys cable giant TCI

Siemens buys 40% of GPT

LDDS buys Advantage Companies

est. 138m subscriber phone lines in US; global figure is est. 496m

Honeywell sells most of stake in Honeywell-Bull, which buys Zenith's microcomputer arm for US$635m

Reseaux IP Europeens (RIPE) established

Computer Associates buys Cullinet for US$330m

Plessey acquired by GEC and Siemens

Northern Telecom buys STC

ANZ buys New Zealand PostBank

Texas v Johnson flag burning case in US

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