Computers have come a long way since they were first envisioned in the 19th century. The development of the transistor by Bell Labs in 1947 marked the birth of computers as we know them. The early development of the internet in the late 1960s was another major milestone. By the early 1980s the graphic user interface (GUI) created a growing excitement beyond businesses and government organizations as computers began to enter the mainstream. Here are important dates in the history of modern technology starting with the computer revolution of the 1980s.

The 1980s

1980: Ethernet is introduced three years before becoming a standard for LANs.
1981: Microsoft purchased 86-DOS, which becomes the basis for MS-DOS for the IBM PC.
1982: Following Altair and Apple’s early personal computers, IBM unveils its first PC.
1983: Civilian aircraft begin using GPS, marking the rise of electronic mapping tools.
1984: CD-ROMs begin appearing in computers as Toshiba invents Flash Memory.
1985: The Network File System ushers in a new era of network data storage.
1988: NeXT, founded by Steve Jobs, releases its first computer.
1989: Tim Berners-Lee develops the World Wide Web on a NeXT computer.

The 1990s

1990: Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) and Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) allow users to access the internet.
1991: LINUX, similar to Unix, debuts as an open source operating system.
1992: The first web browsers appear, allowing users to tap into the World Wide Web.
1993: Email, which traces back to the 1960s, starts to become popular.
1994: Compressed images called JPEGs begin to populate the Web.
1995: Windows 95 is introduced, opening the door to multi-tasking.
1996: Flash scripting makes web pages more movie-like while MP3s compress audio.
1997: Broadband begins to appear in homes through cable and digital subscriber lines.
1998: Google debuts while Amazon starts selling music and videos.
1999: Wi-Fi gains widespread attention while PayPal development begins.

The 2000s

2000: Cloud computing begins.
2001: Apple introduces the iTunes Music Player, followed by the iTunes store in 2003.
2002: Microsoft.Net Framework debuts as a virtual machine.
2003: Broadband rises in popularity, ushering in high-speed internet.
2004: The Semantic Web era begins with Web Ontology Language.
2005: Web 2.0 arrives while multicore processors provide energy efficiency.
2006: Facebook, which debuted a few years earlier, opens its service to the public.
2007: Apple introduces the iPhone, inspiring the smartphone revolution.
2008: Google unveils Android to compete with the Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry.