This Month in Tech History: June – Review Geek


The history of technology in June sees the birth of corporate giants, iconic products and gaming legends. From Sonic the Hedgehog and Tetris to Atari and IBM, it all starts in June. Read below for details.

June 1, 1999: Launch of Napster

A man looking at a mid 90s computer with Napster on screen

The service that changed the way we buy and consume music was invented and launched by then-teenagers Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. They designed Napster as a peer-to-peer file sharing service, making it easy to share MP3 music. It was an instant hit. The more people ripped their CD collections onto their computers to share, the more users flocked to the service. It was a free-for-all of free music.

Less than a year after its launch, Napster faced lawsuits from recording artists like Metallica and Dr. Dre, claiming the service facilitated violations of their copyrighted music. The Recording Industry Association of America also filed suit against the company on behalf of several major US record labels. Napster settled or lost all cases and closed operations in 2001 after it was unable to comply with a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals order to stop sharing copyrighted music.

But that wasn’t the end of Napster. Its name and brand were sold at a bankruptcy auction and went through many iterations over the decades that followed. Napster is currently a paid audio streaming service owned by MelodyVR.

June 6, 1984: Tetris Born

The 'Tetris' loading screen on an old game console.

There are few better examples of games that stand the test of time than Tetris. Created in 1984 by programmers from the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Tetris swept away Moscow. Every computer in town had a copy of the game.

Throughout the 1980s, Tetris released on diskette throughout the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. However, the lack of copyright in the Soviet bloc and Western skepticism of a Soviet product made it difficult for the game to reach a global audience.

It wasn’t until 1987 that Western and Japanese game companies began acquiring licenses to port Tetris to their consoles and computers. Ports of the game have appeared on platforms made by Nintendo, Sega, Atari, Commodore, and more. But the game’s Soviet origins led to copyright disputes between distributors. It wasn’t until Pjintov and others founded The Tetris Company in 1996 that copyright and licensing issues were settled.

Since, Tetris has remained a mainstay of the video game industry, available on the widest variety of devices and platforms possible. Nowadays, Tetris has sold approximately 495 million copies worldwide. Making it the most successful video game franchise not owned by Nintendo.

June 10, 1977: Apple II goes on sale

An Apple II computer on a desk
Ivan Arkhipov/

Almost all of Apple’s oldest acolytes refer to the Apple II as their first product from the company. Its predecessor, the Apple I, came out a year earlier and was just a simple circuit board with only 200 units ever produced. The Apple II was the first of many groundbreaking products from the company. It introduced the all-in-one computer model that has characterized Apple machines ever since.

Apple founders Steve Job and Steve Wozniak’s decision to include a keyboard, video display, and plastic shell has made the personal computer experience much more accessible to those interested in computing. computers but cannot build their machines. Additionally, the eight expansion slots on the motherboard allowed users to add a variety of cards to expand and customize the usefulness of the machine.

The Apple II sold 4.8 million units in two years when the company discontinued it to make way for its successor, the Apple II Plus. The Apple II family continued to evolve and sell throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Apple sold six million Apple II computers during its 16 years of production. And all this despite competition from Apple’s flagship computer line: the Macintosh.

June 16, 1911: Creation of IBM

An IBM building showing the company logo

IBM, one of the most comprehensive and successful technology companies in history, began over a century ago as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. But it didn’t start in the garage in the heart of Silicon Valley like many of today’s tech giants. Rather, it was the merger of four companies acquired by financier Charles R. Flint: Bundy Manufacturing Company, Computing Scale Company of America, International Time Recording Company, and Tabulating Machine Company. Flint named the combined businesses the “Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company”, renamed the “International Business Machines Corporation” in 1924.

Initially, each company retained its employees, brand and operations. Early products included clocks, punch cards, data processors, weighted scales, and meat slicers. However, IBM did away with legacy branding and operations when it consolidated all of its operations under one banner in 1933. Since then, the company has pioneered several technological breakthroughs and inventions.

Notable IBM inventions include the hard disk, floppy disk, magnetic card, electronic punch, automated teller machine (ATM), Universal Product Code (UPC barcode), and dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) . In addition, the company has invested in acquiring technology companies and patents to innovate and improve existing products. There are few technologies or services we use today that have not been influenced in some way by the innovative work done at IBM.

June 23, 1991: sonic the hedgehog Posted

A Sega Mega Drive system with a cartridge
Ben Gingell/

Few video games inspire as much nostalgia for older gamers as sonic the hedgehog. The game was born out of a competition between Sega programmers to create the company’s flagship video game franchise that would compete with Nintendo’s. Super Mario Bros. line. Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima won with a quick prototype platformer. Naka and Ohshima then created Sonic himself as the star of the game, Sega’s mascot, and direct rival to the king of video games: Mario.

The game was an integral part of Sega’s efforts to produce a 16-bit game console that could challenge Nintendo’s dominance in the American video game market. The company has merged sonic the hedgehog and the game Amended The beast with their new console offering: the Sega Genesis. The quality of the Sonic, the freshness of the Genesis, and a strong North American marketing campaign gave Sega the success they were looking for. Sonic and Sega have become as iconic of American video gaming as Nintendo and Mario.

To date, the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has sold over 145 copies worldwide, placing it in the top 20 best-selling franchises of all time. Beat beloved titles such as The Legend of Zelda and resident Evilbut without ever dethroning Mario’s first place in the video game hierarchy.

June 27, 1972: creation of Atari

A set of Atari games around the company logo

At the foot of creation Computer space, the world’s first commercially available video game, engineers Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded Atari to develop a new game and pinball machine. Their first creation was the now classic game, pong.

After video game makers refused to license the game, the duo built a prototype arcade cabinet to test in the market at Andy’s Kapp, a local tavern in Sunnyvale, California. pong was a hit with customers. Bushnell and Dabney produced a dozen more Pong cabinets to be placed in other bars in the area. And soon they couldn’t keep up with the demand for Pong machines.

The success of pong launched Atari into the center of the fledgling video game industry. His 1973 follow-up game, space race, was a flop, selling only 1,500 units. However, the home version of pong was a huge hit in 1975 and proved influential in the nascent home console market.

Atari’s initial runaway success did not last long as tension grew between the two founders. In March 1973, Dabney left the company and sold his stock for $250,000. And under Bushnell’s leadership, the company nearly went bankrupt. To generate the capital needed to keep Atari in business, Bushnell sold the company to Warner Communications for $28 million in 1976.

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