Reading Vogelstein on Apple/Google

This week I’ve been reading Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013).  It’s pretty good, and I’ll have a longer comment in the near future.

There is quite a bit of history in here, generally reliably rendered. But one point I simply have to make immediately:

…the World Wide Web had revolutionized the world, but in the twenty years since Netscape started it all with the first Internet browser…” (p. 191)


The Netscape people commercialized technology that was created at CERN in Europe and popularized by the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign (both of which had been on the Internet from day one). (Reference: Web Server Technology: The Authoritative Guide,  by Nancy J. Yeager and Robert E. McGrath  San Francisco, Morgan-Kaufmann, 1996).

The Netscape team moved to Silicon Valley and monetized the stuff we invented and gave away (millions of copies downloaded before Netscape started).  Their browser wasn’t even close to the “first” anything.

The thing Netscape “started” was the explosion of Internet businesses with no discernable business plan. That is a a miraculous invention, to be sure, but they did it on technology that WE invented. Grumble, Grumble.


Grumpy Old Guy  in Urbana.

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