“What about this Internet thing?” – In 1995, no one knew about the Internet and Bill Gates had to explain it on TV

Bill Gates appeared on an evening TV show in 1995 to promote a book. In this context, the tech visionary explained what the Internet is and what possibilities it offers.

The Internet as we know it today has become indispensable. Without this technology, access to information would be severely limited.

Almost 29 years ago, the current ubiquity of the Internet was unthinkable. The World Wide Web was not yet widespread and very few people knew what it was all about. A reason for Bill Gates to explain during a TV appearance in 1995 what the Internet actually is and what it can do.

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Bill Gates explained the Internet to us on TV in 1995

What kind of appearance was that by Bill Gates? Almost 29 years ago, Bill Gates was a guest on US presenter David Letterman’s Late Show. He used the appearance to present his book “The Road Ahead”. In it, Gates dealt with the then emerging Internet age.

The Internet as we know it today was still in its infancy in the early 1990s. Accordingly, the World Wide Web (WWW) was little known to the public and until then was more of a niche product that only a few people used.

Since Letterman, like many others, was ignorant on the subject, he asked the Microsoft founder on his show “What About This Internet Thing – Do You Know Anything About It?”

Bill Gates called it “The Big New Thing” and then began his mission to explain it.

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Bill Gates’ 1995 performance was captured forever on YouTube

What explanation did Gates provide in response? Bill Gates was able to answer the question simply and understandably for as many viewers as possible, who previously only knew the Internet as an “information highway”. In Germany the new technology is referred to as the “information highway”.

[Das Internet ist] A place where people can post information. You can have your own homepage. Company appearances and the latest news can also be found there. You can send emails to people.

Bill Gates on David Letterman’s Late Show in 1995

How did Microsoft react to the new technology? Bill Gates recognized the potential of the Internet. Therefore, in 1995, the Windows 95 operating system was released along with Internet Explorer 1.0. To ensure this, Gates created a stressful work environment at times.

This gave rise to the first browser war in history. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and its strongest competitor Netscape Navigator fought for market leadership. By linking it to its own operating system, Microsoft was able to win this battle.

Microsoft maintained its market power in Internet browsers for many years. The successor to Windows 95 was also delivered with a version of Internet Explorer firmly anchored in the operating system. While Microsoft’s browser was able to continue its triumphant advance unhindered, Windows 98 itself had to endure a special test procedure for USB devices: Microsoft had a vehicle with over 60 USB devices and tortured Windows 98 and its own developers with it