30 Years Ago: How Email Rose to Become the No. 1 Killer App
eWEEK 30: The first email was sent in 1965. Since then, more than 3 billion email accounts exist and about 294 billion emails are sent per day.When the first personal computers started being sold by Apple and IBM in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was common for people to ask: "Why do you really need to buy a PC?" The truth was, if you had a typewriter, that's pretty much all you needed to create documents. If you wanted to play video games, you'd go down to the mall. If you needed to do math problems, you got a calculator. Back then, everybody existed in what we now call data silos. People did home finances on PCs, wrote documents and printed them out, and played a few simple games. Few computers were connected, and those that were invariably belonged to high-security government agencies such as the military or corporate enterprises doing business with government that had access to central mainframe computers. Ethernet networking was invented in the 1970, and IBM introduced Token Ring networking in the 1980s. But few enterprises had good business reasons to install Local Area Networks (LANs) before the mid-1980s, when personal computers became common in corporate offices.
In 1982, IBM introduced PROFS, for Professional Office SystemVM, which ran on IBM mainframes and some of its midrange computer systems and included an email application. For Digital Equipment Corp. minicomputer systems, email service was provided through the company's All-In-1 office productivity package.