Computer history - 1997

Updated: 07/31/2022 by Computer Hope

Major computer events in 1997

WiFi logo

IEEE introduced 802.11 the wireless (Wi-Fi) network standard in June 1997.

Steve Jobs rejoined Apple on September 16, 1997.

Other computer events in 1997

HTTP/1.1 was specified in RFC 2616 and officially released in January 1997.

The world learned of Dolly, the first successfully cloned mammal, on February 22, 1997.

A cult known as the Heaven's Gate, that earned its money from designing websites, committed mass suicide on March 27, 1997.

IBMs Deep Blue computer defeated world champion chess player Garry Kasparov on May 11, 1997, in their second six-game showdown, winning the tie-breaking game in only 62 minutes.

Sierra Semiconductor announced a name change for the corporation PMC-Sierra, Inc. on June 9, 1997. The trading symbol for the company that is publicly traded on NASDAQ National Market also changed from "SERA" to "PMCS."

The Mars Pathfinder successfully landed on Mars on July 4, 1997. The NASA Pathfinder website showing real-time images sent from the Pathfinder on Mars received more than 100 million hits during its first four days. In response to the popularity, NASA set up 25 mirror pages to handle the traffic. The site set a new popularity record.

Microsoft released DirectX 5.0 ( on July 16, 1997.

Advanced Graphics Port or AGP designed for video cards was released by Intel in August 1997.

The domain name was registered after Sergey Brin and Larry Page decided to change the name of their BackRub search engine to Google on September 15, 1997.

The FBI released Carnivore, the first instance of policeware in the United States in October 1997.

The client-side scripting language ECMAScript was released.

The first paywall was introduced by the Wall Street Journal.

The CD burning software Nero was first released.

Unwired Planet developed HDML.

Sun Microsystems first released the Java Database Connectivity API in 1997.

Connectix introduced Virtual PC in 1997.

Quantum Teleportation was first successfully achieved, bringing quantum computing closer to reality.

ATA-3 was approved by ANSI in 1997.

The Slashdot website launched in 1997.

The first black hat conference was held in 1997.

Internet2 consortium was established in 1997.

Several computer manufacturers introduced sub 1,000 computers, computers that cost less than $1,000.

AOL faced several lawsuits from subscribers who were upset about the difficulties encountered when attempting to connect to its services.

The dancing baby became one of the Internet's first fads. The dancing baby was a short 3D animation of a small dancing baby wearing diapers. It was first created by Michael Girard and later tweaked by Ron Lussier at LucasArts, who released it on a CompuServe forum as chacha.avi.

Altavista introduced its free online translator Babel Fish in 1997.

Digital Video Discs, aka DVDs (Digital Versatile Discs), first went on sale in 1997.

Bill Gates became the world's richest businessman in 1997.

The concept of a CAPTCHA was invented in 1997.

Fortran 95 was introduced in 1997.

Microsoft began working on its own search engine in 1997.

The term ICT was popularized.

The TRUSTe organization was founded in 1997.

The Li-ion battery was first used for commercial uses.

New computer products and services introduced in 1997

The first revision of the ATX standard (version 2.01) was released in February 1997.

Intel released the NLX motherboard in March 1997.

AMD released their K6 processor line in April 1997, with speeds of 166 MHz to 300 MHz and a 66 MHz bus speed.

Winamp was released on April 21, 1997.

Intel Pentium II was introduced on May 7, 1997.

Perl 5.004 was released on May 15, 1997.

The MMORPG (massively multiplayer role-playing game) UO (Ultima Online) was released on September 24, 1997.

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 4.0 in September 1997.

Age of Empires was released on October 15, 1997, by Ensemble Studios. The game became very popular, selling over 20 million copies worldwide. Its success resulted in the release of several sequels, a spin-off game series titled Age of Mythology, and a port to the Nintendo DS for two game releases. It was also credited with influencing other real-time strategy games, like Rise of Nations and Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds.

Riven, the sequel to Myst, was released in October 1997.

Rockstar Games released its first installment in the Grand Theft Auto series on October 21, 1997.

FruityLoops was released on December 18, 1997. The program would later become FL Studio.

Intel introduced the microATX form factor in December 1997.

Intel introduced AC'97 in 1997.

Microsoft released Excel 97 in 1997.

Sony released the first DualShock controller.

Apple introduced the first Power Macintosh G3 desktop in November 1997.

The video game Constructor was released.

Microsoft released Microsoft Office 97.

Macromedia introduced Dreamweaver.

Microsoft announced Windows 98 and Active Desktop.

Apple released macOS 8.

Caldera Linux was introduced in 1997.

CD-RW drives and media were introduced.

OpenLinux was released by Caldera Systems (now known as the SCO Group) in 1997.

HyperCam was released in 1997 by Hyperionics and Solveig.

Intel introduced the MMX chip.

Intel introduced the Slot 1 processor and slot.

The Symbian mobile operating system was released by Nokia.

Yahoo! introduced Yahoo Mail.

The Intel Pentium II, 233 MHz processor, was released.

Microsoft Windows CE 2.x was released.

Microsoft Word 97 was released in 1997.

Microsoft released Visual Basic 5.0.

Carsten Haitzler released Enlightenment.

The 98 update was applied to the Haskell programming language.

Discontinued products and services in 1997

Mosaic development and support was officially discontinued on January 7, 1997.

Internet domains that came online in 1997

The domain came online on March 28, 1997.

The domain came online on September 24, 1997.

The domain came online on November 10, 1997.

Computer companies founded in 1997

Kibble changed its name to Netflix and was established on August 29, 1997.

ABBYY was founded in 1997.

AmbiCom Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1997.

Belarc was founded in 1997.

Billionton Systems was founded in 1997.

Chassis Plans was founded in 1997.

Club 3D was founded in 1997.

Cyrix was established in 1997.

Dot Hill Systems was founded in 1997.

Dynapower USA was founded in 1997.

E ink was established in 1997.

GoDaddy was founded in 1997.

HTC was founded in 1997.

Kaspersky was founded in 1997.

L-3 Communications Holdings was founded in 1997.

Leoptics was founded in 1997.

Ligos was founded in 1997.

Mediatek was founded in 1997.

NCSOFT was founded in 1997.

Netflix was established in 1997.

Nullsoft was founded by Justin Frankel in 1997.

PowerColor was founded in 1997.

Velocity Micro was founded in 1997.

Webroot Software was founded in 1997.

WinChip was founded in 1997.

Yandex was founded in 1997.

Zebronics was founded in 1997 by Rajesh Doshi.

Computer company events in 1997

Phoenix acquired NJK (Nihon Joho Kenkyujo) on January 2, 1997.

Microsoft announced plans to buy WebTV Networks on April 6, 1997 for $425 million. The deal was later approved and completed in August.

Compaq purchased Microcom in April 1997.

National Semiconductor acquired Cyrix in July 1997.

Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple Computers Inc. on August 6, 1997, and agreed to continue creating software for Apple computers. In agreement, Apple made Microsoft Internet Explorer its browser of choice for Macintosh computers.

AOL acquired CompuServe on September 8, 1997.

The OPTi Audio business was sold to Creative Technology in November 1997 and now under the group called Ectiva.

Creative Technology Ltd. acquired Ensoniq on December 10, 1997.

Micropolis went out of business on December 10, 1997.

Microsoft acquired Hotmail, a free e-mail service, in December 1997.

In December 1997, DEXXA sold its scanner business to Storm Technologies.

Tseng Labs was purchased by ATI (now a part of AMD) in December 1997.

3Com bought U.S. Robotics for $6.6 billion, making the consolidation the largest in the history of computer companies.

Banksia and NetComm merged in late 1997.

CompUSA joined Dell and Gateway in selling build-to-order computers in 1997.

EIA was changed from Electronic Industries Association to Electronic Industries Alliance.

Gravis was acquired by Kensington in 1997.

Network Associates was formed after a merger between McAfee and Network General.

Post-Newsweek Cable was renamed to Cable One in 1997. Today, the company is known as Sparklight.

Systemax Inc. acquired Midwest Micro in 1997.

Zoran acquired ComCore Multimedia in 1997.

Computer pioneer deaths in 1997

Jean Hoerni

Jean Hoerni passed away on January 12, 1997 (Age: 73).

Mina Rees passed away on October 25, 1997 (Age: 92).

Cyril Cleverdon passed away on December 4, 1997 (Age: 83).

John Pinkerton passed away on December 22, 1997 (Age: 78).

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