Recalling Bill Gates’ ‘Internet Tidal Wave’ memo, seminal document of the unfolding digital age

The 1995 Blog

Internet Tidal Wave memo_1995Twenty-five years ago tomorrow, Bill Gates sent a lengthy internal memorandum to senior staff at Microsoft Corporation, declaring the internet “a tidal wave” that “changes the rules.” It was a seminal document of the early online era that figured in shaping the digital landscape of the second half of the 1990s and beyond.

The memorandum also confirmed that Gates and Microsoft were late in recognizing the promise of the internet and helped prod the software giant to confront the swaggering upstart, Netscape Communications Corporation, maker of an eponymous and highly popular web browser.

The memorandum was dated May 26, 1995, and bore the title, “The Internet Tidal Wave.” It surfaced a few years later in the U.S. government’s antitrust lawsuit that accused the software giant of uncompetitive practices in taking on and vanquishing Netscape in the “browser war” that began later in 1995.

“The Internet…

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