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Chapter 16. Working with Hyperlinks and ... > Putting Microsoft's Internet Program...

Putting Microsoft's Internet Program in Perspective

The astounding growth in the use of the Internet that occurred in 1994 and early 1995 appeared to have gone unnoticed by Microsoft. The World Wide Web, with its hyperlinked documents and easy-to-use browsers, had extended the Internet's reach to ordinary computer users. Sales of Internet server software and hardware mushroomed. Commercial versions of Web browsers, based on the original NCSA Mosaic browser design, gained a major market presence. Ultimately, Netscape Communications, Inc., gained the lion's share of the rapidly expanding Internet server and Web browser software market. The consensus of the computer trade press by late 1995 was that Microsoft had "missed the Internet boat."

Bill Gates announced on Dec. 7, 1995, that Microsoft Corporation would, henceforth, "embrace and extend the Internet." To achieve his goal, Gates initiated a major reorganization that gave Internet-related development programs top priority at Microsoft. The result of diverting a large part of Microsoft's considerable technical and economic resources to the Internet was a flood of new products and technology incentives, plus Internet upgrades to existing products. Just keeping up with Microsoft's product announcements bordered on a full-time occupation. What's more, Microsoft distributed most of its new Internet-related products, often in the beta (or pre-beta) testing stage, to users at no charge.


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