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40 years in tech

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Since Accel’s founding 40 years ago, technology has transformed our world and paved the way for a bright future. Join us as we reflect on key moments of innovation since 1983.

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The 1980s were a time of remarkable advancements in technology. Key developments in personal computing and the inception of the World Wide Web set the stage for the digital age we live in today.

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The Nintendo Entertainment System makes its debut.

The console’s early success in Japan triggered global interest, and Nintendo proceeded to dominate the video game market through the 1980s.



The Macintosh Personal Computer is released by Apple.

The Macintosh was a pioneering portable personal computer with a mouse, floppy disk drive, and graphical user interface.

Watch Apple's iconic ‘1984’ Super Bowl ad


Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." becomes the first music CD pressed in America.

Two years prior, commercial compact discs and players had been introduced in Japan. But it was Sony's 1984 introduction of D-5/D-50, the world's first portable CD player, that prompted a digital audio revolution and a widespread shift away from cassette tapes.

Listen to the album


The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X phone is approved for use in the US.

The 8000x was the first commercially available cell phone and cost $3,995, nearly $12,000 in today’s dollars. The phone achieved icon status in the movie, Wall Street.

Read more about Gordon Gekko’s phone



The earliest ".com,", is registered by the Symbolics Computer Corporation, a company manufacturing computers designed to run the Lisp programming language.

The site now serves as a personal blog but remains the oldest registered domain out of over 350 million in existence.



"Jennifer in Paradise" becomes a Photoshop sensation.

This photograph was the first image altered by Photoshop’s co-creator, John Knoll. Adobe would purchase the rights to Photoshop from the Knoll brothers in 1995.

Watch John Knoll’s demo of the original Photoshop



Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist at CERN, invents the World Wide Web, revolutionizing the way information is accessed and shared.

The Web was a critical development that paved the way for the modern Internet. It made access simple for everyone, through easy-to-use graphical browser programs.

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With the rise of the World Wide Web, the internet went from a niche curiosity to a global phenomenon during this decade. Meanwhile, CDs expanded access to entertainment, cell phones got smaller, and texting was born.

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Linus Torvalds begins work on a free, open-source version of the UNIX operating system which was released later that year as Linux.

The Linux operating system redefined computing operating systems as a backbone of the Internet. It served as a model for the potential of open-source software and is now used in everything from gas pumps and traffic lights to jet aircraft and supercomputers.



Neil Papworth, an engineer at Vodafone, sends the first text message “Merry Christmas” on an Orbitel 901.

The word “texting” wasn’t added to the dictionary until 2010, after a record 6.1 trillion texts were sent worldwide that year.


The success of Windows 3.1 makes Microsoft Windows the primary PC operating system.

Seven years after its 1.0 launched, Windows had evolved into a mainstream operating system thanks to its multimedia capabilities and better networking support.



SRI International starts work on a prototype that would become the iPhone's virtual assistant, "Siri," over a decade later.

Susan Bennett was the voice behind Apple's first iteration of Siri in 2011, but when she was recording her lines she had little idea what they’d be used for, or just how prolific her voice would become.

Read how Bennett became Siri's iconic voice



The Sting album “Ten Summoners’ Tails” is purchased online with a credit card.

Daniel Kohn’s purchase of the CD marked the first, digitally secure, online credit card transaction.



eBay makes its first sale: a broken laser pointer.

eBay changed the course of e-commerce history, and by 1996 the company had become a million-dollar business.


Toy Story is the first computer-animated feature film shown in movie theaters.

Produced by Pixar Animation Studios, Toy Story was the highest-grossing film of 1995 and laid the foundation for the development of computer-generated animation.



IBM’s supercomputer, Deep Blue, defeats world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a match and becomes the first computer to win a game against a human.

The game lasted only an hour, short by chess standards. Deep Blue's position left Kasparov with no option but to resign—it was the first time in his career he had conceded defeat.


Stanford University Computer science graduate students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, rename their project from “Backrub” to "Google."

Google introduced a system called PageRank, which organized and displayed search results according to their popularity, as a new way to index the World Wide Web.


"" is established as the first social media website.

Based on the “six degrees of separation” concept, it combined features such as profiles, friends lists, and school affiliations in one service.



Netflix mails its first DVD, Beetlejuice.

DVD rental by mail and video streaming eventually replaced brick-and-mortar video-rental giants like Blockbuster.



Kyocera introduces the world’s first camera phone.

The Kyocera VP-210 could store 20 JPEG images and send or receive emails with image attachments. The camera phone gave people the ability to take pictures at a moment's notice, forever changing the way we capture and share information.

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The new millennium saw the rise of technologies that transformed the way we live and work. Social media platforms and the introduction of the first smartphone brought about an unprecedented era of digital connectedness.

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President Clinton granted non-military users access to an unscrambled GPS signal for the first time.

This allowed GPS-based products and services to become significantly more accurate for civil and commercial use. New applications included air, road, rail, and marine navigation; precision agriculture and mining; oil exploration; telecommunications; electronic data transfer; and construction, recreation, and emergency response.


The first commercially-available USB flash drive, ThumbDrive, is produced by Trek Technology.

Flash drives transformed how computer users shared and transferred data.



The Sony Ericsson T36 debuts as the first mobile phone with built-in Bluetooth wireless technology.

It was ultimately the revised T39 model which made it to store shelves. It also featured a 101 x 54 Monochrome LCD display, tri-band GSM connectivity, WAP internet, and enough memory to store up to 1,000 contacts.


Apple releases the iPod, transforming the way people consume and access music.

The iPod was one of the most successful consumer electronics products of all time, and led to Apple’s iTunes Store becoming the largest music retailer in the world.

Watch Steve Jobs introduce the iPod



Research in Motion launches the BlackBerry 6210.

This was the first BlackBerry to offer email, texting, web browsing, and mobile phone functionality.


Estonian entrepreneurs launch Skype (derived from "Sky peer-to-peer"), to reduce the cost of voice calls by using a P2P protocol.

Skype's high-definition peer-to-peer audio offered a significant improvement over the traditional phone call quality of the time. It gained 23 million registered users in the first 18 months after launch, though it did not introduce video calls, its most recognizable feature, until 2006.



Mark Zuckerberg establishes while studying at Harvard University.

What started as a “directory of information for college students” (and required an .edu email address to sign up) became Facebook, the largest social media platform in the world. Today, Facebook has more than two billion active users.

More about Accel’s relationship with Facebook


Google announces their new webmail service: Gmail.

Given its dramatic storage capacity of 1GB (500x what Microsoft’s Hotmail offered) and the ironically-timed announcement on April Fools’ Day, many assumed it was a prank. It wasn't.



Jawed Karim, YouTube’s co-founder, uploads "me at the zoo," the first-ever YouTube video.

YouTube became the largest online video-sharing platform. Today, it is the world’s second-most visited website, with over 700,000 hours of video uploaded daily.

Watch the video



Jack Dorsey tweets, "just setting up my twttr."

This was the first message posted on Twitter.

View the tweet


Spotify emerges as a new solution to the growing piracy problem in the music industry.

Spotify's subscription-based service offered unlimited access to a vast music library on any device. It replaced traditional music purchasing models worldwide, transformed how people consume music, and changed the industry forever.

More about Accel’s relationship with Spotify



Apple launches the iPhone.

The iPhone's debut marked a pivotal moment for the mobile phone industry. Its revolutionary touch screen, web browsing, high-resolution camera, and iPod music player integration set a new standard for innovative features and sleek design we see in smartphones today.

Watch Steve Jobs introduce the iPhone



Tesla Motors begins production of the Tesla Roadster.

A historic moment in the development of zero-emissions automobiles, the Tesla Roadster was the first highway-legal, serial-produced electric car in the United States.

Read the press release

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The 2010s were a decade of steady disruption as the groundwork had now been laid for a mature technology ecosystem. Early innovators became industry leaders, and the world began to operate in a highly connected way, due to the widespread adoption of cloud computing and the Internet of Things.

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Two pizzas are purchased from Papa Johns for 10,000 Bitcoin, marking the first commercial cryptocurrency transaction.

Bitcoin had just emerged as a decentralized digital currency. This moment demonstrated the potential of Bitcoin as a viable means of exchange and sparked widespread interest in cryptocurrency adoption and development. At today’s Bitcoin prices, those pizzas would have cost over $200 million.


Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom launch Instagram and gain 25,000 users in one day.

Before Instagram, the duo was working on a social app called "Burbn." After noticing users were primarily sharing photos, they rebuilt the app as Instagram, a name inspired by the words "instant camera" and "telegram."



Stewart Butterfield and his team at Tiny Speck, a gaming startup, realize the internal communications tool they built could have a widespread impact.

The following year, they unveiled Slack, the "Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge," which has transformed business communication.

More about Accel’s relationship with Slack



Supercell's Clash of Clans becomes the highest-grossing app of all time.

Supercell's “freemium” price strategy reached millions of players by prioritizing the user experience over monetization. It was among the earliest companies to adopt this free-to-play model, which changed the mobile gaming market.

More about Accel’s relationship with Supercell



Pokémon GO becomes a global phenomenon.

The combination of brand recognition, nostalgia, innovative gameplay, and social interaction helped to make Pokémon GO an international sensation. While it was not the first augmented reality game, Pokémon GO was one of the first to truly capture the public's imagination.




Users of open their phones to find the app replaced with a new logo and name, TikTok.

The platform's unique approach to short-form video content, enabled anyone to go viral regardless of their follower count. This led to TikTok's rapid rise in popularity among young people and reshaped the social media landscape previously dominated by platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.

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The current decade has already seen a flurry of technological progress, marked by dramatic evolution in the way we work and rapid advances in artificial intelligence. We’re only three years into the decade, and we’re eager to see what’s to come.

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Zoom's video conferencing software reaches 300 million daily users.

Zoom launched in 2013 as an online business meeting platform, but its popularity skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. As people across the globe sought virtual alternatives to face-to-face interactions, Zoom became the go-to platform for everything from work meetings and happy hours to family gatherings and online classes, changing the way the world communicates.



OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, ChatGPT, is launched for free use.

GPT's unparalleled ability to process natural language and generate human-like responses is a major breakthrough in the field of generative AI, and is paving the way for even more transformative advancements in artificial intelligence.

Jump back to a decade to explore