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Preface

Preface

In the four years since the first edition of this book, enormous fortunes were made and lost in a speculative bubble based on the potential of the Web. Thousands of web companies were founded with very thin business plans, and most are now floundering. Older companies, such as Cisco, Sun, and Oracle, rose to dizzying heights as the primary suppliers of equipment and software that was to revolutionize our lives, but they too have fallen greatly from their peaks. Microsoft continues its near-monopoly of the desktop, and yet it finds that monopoly increasingly irrelevant in a networked world. Meanwhile, mainstream media has had success in bringing much of television’s low quality and intrusive advertising to the Web.

Now that the revolution is over, what has really changed? The change is that the Web has moved from novelty to an essential utility for the distribution of information. URLs are everywhere, as well as understood everywhere. Phone lines now carry more data than voice traffic. Almost every company and government agency has a web presence, along with millions of individuals. The Web is now taken for granted, though it has huge beneficial effects on our lives. Thanks to the Web, it is cheaper, faster, and easier to communicate than ever before.


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