Computer History - 1996

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

Major computer events in 1996

EmailFor the first time more e-mail is sent than postal mail in USA.

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

The first commercial USB cable and port are released in January.

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 beats chess master Garry Kasparov in two chess matches for the first time on February 2, 1996.

In April of 1996 Jennifer Kaye Ringley installs 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 is introduced allowing users to browse the web from their TV July 10, 1996.

K56Flex is announced in November of 1996 by Lucent and Rockwell.

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

United States patent 5,579,430 is granted November 26, 1996 for the digital encoding process of MP3 files.

The ATSC approves of HDTV on December 24, 1996.

The OCaml programming language is introduced.

IPv6 is introduced.

Telecom Act deregulates data networks. is created by Garrett Gruener and David Warthen.

Laptop computers start featuring Zoomed Video Slots.

Release of the first commercial microbrowser called NetHopper.

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

MSNBC makes its debut.

Craig Newmark moves his Craigslist to a website.

Sony enters the PC market with the release of VAIO.

ATA-2 is approved by ANSI.

IBM and Sears sell Prodigy is sold to Internet Wireless.

Dr. Thomas Pabst starts the Tom's Hardware website.

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

Li-polymer batteries begin being used.

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

CREN ended its support and since then the network has cease to exist.

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

Google is first developed by Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

KDE is started to be developed by Matthias Ettrich.

AT&T introduces Worldnet.

The Mining Company, which today is known as is founded.

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

U.S. Robotics Pilot is announced.

Tandy announces 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 begins being sold.

Acer America Corporation introduces its designer home PCs.

Sun Microsystems releases its line of network computers.

New computer products and services introduced in 1996

The first Java Development Kit (JDK 1.0) codenamed oak is released January 23, 1996.

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

AMD introduces 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 is introduced in April 1996.

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

Microsoft releases DirectX 3.0 ( on June 5, 1996.

Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 was released July 29, 1996.

Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 3.0 on August 13, 1996.

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

Adobe Photoshop 4.0 is released in November of 1996.

The first Tomb Raider game is released November 14, 1996.

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

The image tool Irfanview is first released.

The Internet Archive is founded.

Microsoft introduces the website Expedia.

Intel releases the 200 MHz P6.

Microsoft releases ActiveSync for desktop computers and mobile devices.

Microsoft introduces the IntelliMouse also known as a wheel mouse.

Microsoft VBScript is introduced.

AROS Research Operating System is released.

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

Windows Sysinternals is first introduced.

Internet domains that came online in 1996

The domain comes online January 5, 1996.

The domain comes online February 22, 1996.

Computer companies founded in 1996

Netgear is founded January 8, 1996.

Juniper Networks is founded February 6, 1996.

DAVICOM is founded in May of 1996.

ACARD is founded.

Angelfire is founded.

AOpen is established.

Arescom is founded.

Auslinx is founded.

CyberLink is founded.

Doctor Byte is founded.

Frontier Design is founded.

Good Technology is found.

Qwest is founded.

Soltek is founded.

Computer company events in 1996

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

3M spins off its data storage business and creates the Imation company.

Cray Research merges with SGI.

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

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

On July 24, 1996 Caldera files 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.

Macromedia purchases FutureWave and later releases Macromedia Flash 1.0.

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

NEC merges 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. announces on October 9, 1996 that it has signed an agreement to acquire Bit 3 Computer Corporation for $24 million and becomes SBS Bit 3.

Apple announces it will purchase NeXT for $429 million and 1.5 million shares of Apple stock on December 20, 1996 and that it will acquire Steve Jobs, Apples cofounder, as a consultant.

Bit 3 becomes part of SBS Technologies.

Computer related movies released in 1996

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

Triumph of the Nerds is released June 12, 1996.

Computer pioneers born in 1996

Lee Sang-hyeok is born May 7, 1996

Jeffrey Lee Parson is born.

Computer pioneer deaths in 1996

Harlan MillsHarlan Mills passes away January 8, 1996 (Age: 77)

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

Gordon Brown passes away August 23, 1996 (Age: 89)

Seymour Cray passes away October 5, 1996 (Age: 71)

Helmut Hoelzer passes away October 12, 1996 (Age: 84)

Paul Rand passes away November 26, 1996 (Age:82)

Charles Molnar passes away December 13, 1996 (Age: 61)

Carl Sagan passes away December 20, 1996 (Age: 62)

Gertrude Blanch passes away.

Cuthbert Hurd passes away.

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