Most people believe that e-Business has only been around for about 20 years, myself included. I believed that it was something that started in the 90’s when home computers were becoming a norm and when everybody started getting the internet in their homes. The truth is that e-business actually started in 1968 with Electronic Data Interchange. This was a software program that allowed companies to handle transactions electronically. EDI helped Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). It also allowed companies to send and receive commercial documents such as purchase orders and invoices. However, because there were different EDI formats, organizations using different formats were unable to interact with each other. This remained a problem until the ACSX12 became standardized in 1984. The EDI opened the door for other inventions that are used today such as ATM’s and the use of credit cards. In 1979 Michael Aldrich, an English inventor and entrepreneur, hooked up a television and a transaction processing computer to a phone line and created what he called “teleshopping.”
In 1982, Minitel was launched in France. Minitel was the precursor for the internet. This was an on-line service that used a Videotex terminal machine that was accessed through telephone lines and was free to telephone subscribers.
In 1990, Tim Berners Lee, a computer scientist and MIT professor, and Robert Cailliau began working on building a “hypertext project.” This became the “WorldWideWeb.” Lee created the first web server and wrote the first web browser that same year. The web was introduced on August 6, 1991 as a publicly service available on the Internet. The problem was that in the beginning, only computer programmers knew how to get onto the web. This changed in 1992 when Marc Andreesen began working on a point and click way of getting onto the web, which was the Mosaic browser. Mosaic was later adapted into the downloadable Netscape browser. Netscape allowed almost anyone to get onto the web.
As always, change is met with fear and/or skepticism. Even though the web was successful, users were reluctant about conducting business on-line, especially anything that involved sharing personal information and banking information. In 1994, Netscape developed the encryption certificate. This allowed for the safe transmittal of data over the Internet. Users that see that sites have this certificate are more likely to trust the site and use the site.
Amazon, which is the largest online retailer in the world, began in 1995. In the beginning, Amazon was an online bookstore. Unlike traditional bookstores, Amazon was not confined by four walls. One month after the company first began operating, not only were they selling to customers in the US, they also had countries in 40 other countries. Because they were not limited by a physical location, Amazon had an unlimited amount of space that they could utilize. This allowed them to offer more products to their customers/users. This is something that Amazon realized and took advantage of the seemingly endless possibilities. Today, not only does Amazon offer books, they offer DVD’s, music, furniture, clothes, home décor, toys, etc. As of 2010, it was estimated that Amazon had approximately 65 million customers on its US site per month, and that they had earned revenue of over 34 billion dollars. Amazon also recognized that
Amazon is not the only company created in 1995 that is still successful today. E-Bay was created the same year as Amazon. E-Bay, however, is an online auction site. This site allows anyone to buy and sell online. It has revenue of over 14 billion dollars a year. An interesting piece of jeopardy I learned was that one of the first items sold on e-Bay was a broken laser pointer. It sold for $14.83. The founder of e-Bay, Pierre Omidyar, contacted the winning bidder to make sure that he knew the laser pointer was broken. The buyer replied