The worldwide web at 25: business' window on the world

What are businesses making of an invention many CIOs dismissed as a gimmick?

Inside the Enterprise: When Tim Berners-Lee put forward the first proposals for the worldwide web, or W3, 25 years ago, it was easy to dismiss the work as an esoteric research project.

The idea of using hypertext to link documents together was not even altogether new: Apple, for example, had an application, Hypercard, which it shipped on its -- at that time beige -- Macs. But the idea of putting hypertext links into documents, and putting those documents onto the internet, was new. Even Berners-Lee (now Sir Tim) could not have predicted how the web would turn out.

Web access has become more liberalised, perhaps because of the way the web has been integrated into business applications and increasingly, the devices we use to do our work.

Since then, the web has cut through vast areas of modern life, and there is no way to turn back the clock. Indeed, such is the impact of the web that it's hard to envisage life without it. In many ways, it feels as if it has been around forever, not just two and a half decades.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

For enterprises, though, the changes brought by the web, and the internet more broadly, have been resisted as often as they have been embraced. This raises some questions about the way businesses approach technology.

In the early 1990s, some, perhaps even most, IT directors resisted giving staff access to the web.

There was plenty of discussion about whether web browsing had any business use at all. Vendors produced software to restrict web access to so many hours or the day, or just to lunchtimes and breaks, so employees could go online in their "personal" time. Equally, companies restricted or blocked access to other internet-based applications, especially email.

Featured Resources

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Three keys to maximise application migration and modernisation success

Harness the benefits that modernised applications can offer

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

The 3 approaches of Breach and Attack Simulation technologies

A guide to the nuances of BAS, helping you stay one step ahead of cyber criminals

Download now

Most Popular

operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
mergers and acquisitions

Xerox to nominate directors to HP's board – reports

22 Jan 2020
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020