Computer history - 1996

Updated: 04/30/2020 by Computer Hope

Major computer events in 1996


For the first time, more e-mail was sent than postal mail in the USA.

The first CSS specification, CSS 1, was published by the W3C in December 1996.

The first commercial USB cable and port were released in January 1996.

Other computer events in 1996

The CDA amendment to the U.S. 1996 Telecommunications Act that went into effect on February 8, 1996. The law was intended to protect children from obscenity on the Internet, but many Internet users argued that its language was too vague and it violated the rights of free speech. Protesters against the law turned their web pages black and displayed blue ribbon icons downloaded from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. February 8, 1996, is more commonly known as "black Thursday."

IBM computer Deep Blue beat chess master Garry Kasparov in two chess matches for the first time on February 2, 1996.

In April 1996 Jennifer Kaye Ringley installed her first webcam that later became part of the website known as JenniCam. The site later contained several webcams throughout her house and allowed anyone to log into her web page and view updated images every three minutes. The site was later closed in 2003.

WebTV was introduced allowing users to browse the web from their TV July 10, 1996.

Sierra Semiconductor Corporation announced on August 28, 1996 its intention to exit from the modem business to focus on its existing networking and infrastructure semiconductor business.

K56Flex was announced in November 1996 by Lucent and Rockwell.

Beginning November 1, 1996, all records covered by the FOIA must be available online.

The United States patent 5,579,430 was granted on November 26, 1996, for the digital encoding process of an MP3.

The ATSC approved of HDTV on December 24, 1996.

The OCaml programming language was introduced in 1996.

IPv6 was introduced in 1996.

Telecom Act deregulated data networks in 1996. was created by Garrett Gruener and David Warthen.

Laptop computers start featuring zoomed video ports, or ZV ports, in 1996.

The release of the first commercial microbrowser called NetHopper happens in 1996.

The U.S. Postal Services released a new stamp commemorating the 50th birthday of the ENIAC in 1996.

MSNBC made its debut in 1996.

Craig Newmark moves his Craigslist to a website in 1996.

Sony entered the PC market with the release of VAIO in 1996.

ATA-2 was approved by ANSI in 1996.

Dr. Thomas Pabst started the Tom's Hardware website in 1996.

A domestic sheep by the name of Dolly is born and becomes the first mammal to be cloned.

Li-polymer batteries began being used in 1996.

Yahooligans! that later became Yahoo! Kids was introduced in 1996.

HTTP/1.0 was specified in RFC 1945 and introduced in 1996.

CREN ended its support in 1996, and since then the network has ceased to exist.

What first started off as a Usenet, IMDb became incorporated as the Internet Movie Database, Ltd. in 1996.

Google was introduced by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1996.

KDE started to be developed by Matthias Ettrich in 1996.

AT&T introduced Worldnet in 1996.

The Mining Company (now known as was founded in 1996.

Creative Labs introduced the 3D Blaster card its first graphics card to be released to the computer market.

U.S. Robotics PalmPilot with Palm OS was announced in 1996.

Tandy announced in 1996 it will either sell or close all of its 17 Incredible Universe stores and 19 of its Computer City stores because of low sales and losses in revenue.

DDR SDRAM began being sold in 1996.

Acer America Corporation introduced its designer home PCs in 1996.

ReactOS began development in 1996.

Sun Microsystems released its line of network computers in 1996.

New computer products and services introduced in 1996

The first Java Development Kit (JDK 1.0) code-named oak was released on January 23, 1996.

The game Duke Nukem 3D was released on January 29, 1996.

AMD introduced the K5 processor on March 27, 1996, with speeds of 75 MHz to 133 MHz and bus speeds of 50 MHz, 60 MHz, or 66 MHz. The K5 is the first processor developed completely in-house by AMD.

Alexa was introduced in April 1996.

Microsoft released DirectX 2.0a ( on June 5, 1996.

Microsoft released DirectX 3.0 ( on June 5, 1996.

Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 was released on July 29, 1996.

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 3.0 on August 13, 1996.

Microsoft Windows 95 (4.00.950B) aka OSR2 with FAT32 and MMX support was released on August 24, 1996.

Adobe Photoshop 4.0 was released in November 1996.

The first Tomb Raider game was released on November 14, 1996.

The messaging program ICQ was released on November 15, 1996.

Blizzard released the original Diablo on December 27, 1996.

AROS research operating system was released in 1996.

Microsoft Windows CE 1.0 was released as a portable operating system solution on November 16, 1996.

The image tool IrfanView is first released.

The Internet Archive was founded in 1996.

Microsoft introduces the website Expedia.

Intel released the 200 MHz P6 in 1996.

Microsoft released ActiveSync for desktop computers and mobile devices in 1996.

Microsoft introduced the IntelliMouse also known as a wheel mouse in 1996.

Microsoft VBScript was introduced in 1996.

ReactOS began development in 1996.

Seagate introduced the first 10,000 RPM hard drive in 1996.

Texas Instruments released the TI-83, which becomes one of the most popular graphing calculators.

Windows Sysinternals was first introduced in 1996.

Internet domains that came online in 1996

The domain came online on January 5, 1996.

The domain came online on February 22, 1996.

Computer companies founded in 1996

Netgear was founded on January 8, 1996.

Juniper Networks was founded on February 6, 1996.

DAVICOM was founded in May 1996.

ACARD was founded in 1996.

Angelfire was founded in 1996.

AOpen was established in 1996.

Arescom was founded in 1996.

Aus.Linx was founded in 1996.

CyberLink was founded in 1996.

Doctor Byte was founded in 1996.

Extreme Networks was founded in 1996 by Stephen Haddock, Herb Schneider, and Gordon Stitt.

Fujitsu PC Corporation was founded in 1996.

Frontier Design was founded in 1996.

Good Technology was founded in 1996.

Lexar was founded in 1996 by Paul Wenz, John Reimer, Mike Liccardo, and Petro Estakhri.

Qwest was founded in 1996.

Soltek was founded in 1996.

Techlogic was founded in 1996.

TP-Link was founded in 1996 by Zhao Jianjun and Zhao Jiaxing.

Computer company events in 1996

On January 16, 1996, AMD acquired NexGen, a company founded by Thampy Thomas who with the help of other former Intel employees that help create the 80486 created the Nx586.

Microsoft purchased Vermeer Technologies Inc. for $133 million on January 16, 1996. The company is a developer of the website development tool FrontPage, which Microsoft later releases as its own program.

3M spun off its data storage business and created the Imation company in 1996.

Betrieve Technologies Inc. changes its name to Pervasive Software Inc. on July 1, 1996.

Hewlett Packard announced it would no longer be manufacturing hard drives, July 10, 1996.

Caldera acquired all DRI (Digital Research, Inc.) assets from Novell on July 23, 1996.

On July 24, 1996, Caldera filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for its alleged illegal activities and unfair practices in making MS-DOS and its successors, which it claims use CP/M at their core.

Paradyne was sold to Texas Pacific Group in August 1996.

Macromedia purchases FutureWave and later releases Macromedia Flash 1.0.

AT&T spun off the system and technology unit, which later renames itself Lucent Technologies.

NEC merged its PC operations outside Japan with Packard Bell.

Apple Stock sinks to a 10-year low of less than $18.00 a share.

Seagate has completed the merger of Conner Peripherals.

SBS Technologies, Inc. announced on October 9, 1996, that it had signed an agreement to acquire Bit 3 Computer Corporation for $24 million and became SBS Bit 3.

Alienware was founded in 1996 by Alex Aguila and Nelson Gonzalez.

Apple announced it would purchase NeXT and NeXTSTEP for $429 million and 1.5 million shares of Apple stock on December 20, 1996, and would acquire Steve Jobs.

Bit 3 became part of SBS Technologies in 1996.

Cray Research merged with SGI in 1996.

Corel acquired WordPerfect and Quattro Pro from Novell for $180 million.

In 1996, Memorex filed for bankruptcy.

Phoenix acquired Virtual Chips Inc. in 1996.

Softkey changed its name to The Learning Company in 1996.

Weitek went out of business in 1996. After the bankruptcy Weitek moved into the Brooktree division of Rockwell Semiconductor.

ZDS merged with Packard Bell/NEC in 1996.

Computer-related movies released in 1996

The movie Twister became the first featured film put on DVD on March 25, 1996.

Triumph of the Nerds was released on June 12, 1996.

Computer pioneers born in 1996

Lee Sang-hyeok was born on May 7, 1996.

Jeffrey Lee Parson was born in 1996.

Computer pioneer deaths in 1996

Harlan Mills

Harlan Mills passed away on January 8, 1996 (Age: 77).

David Packard passed away on March 26, 1996 (Age: 83).

Gordon Brown passed away on August 23, 1996 (Age: 89).

Seymour Cray passed away on October 5, 1996 (Age: 71).

Helmut Hoelzer passed away on October 12, 1996 (Age: 84).

Paul Rand passed away on November 26, 1996 (Age: 82).

Charles Molnar passed away on December 13, 1996 (Age: 61).

Carl Sagan passed away on December 20, 1996 (Age: 62).

Gertrude Blanch passed away in 1996.

Cuthbert Hurd passed away in 1996.

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