A timeline of digitization will make you feel the high dynamics in the digital economy (available for download).

This timeline contains key milestones of digitization, however, it doesn’t claim to be complete, of course. Furthermore, the timeline only starts from 1968 – this is due to the better clarity. I have also deliberately left out some milestones in order to set a focus. The history of the Internet does, of course, start not only in 1990 – but much earlier: In 1969 ARPANET goes into operation in the US with four nodes (1977: 111 nodes). I’ve put better clarity before going into details.

You’ll find a crisp oneliner for each milestone. Of course, I could have written a whole blogpost for each of these milestones (maybe I’ll do that later). I leave it up to you to take the oneliner for a research of your own. For example, the first Apple I computer was a complete flop from a commercial point of view (it only sold a few hundred times), while the model Apple II (release: one year after the Apple I) was sold in millions. One could also talk in detail about the chess game Deep Blue against Kasparov, because Deep Blue had nothing in common with the neural networks that are so widespread today – it was rather an “expert systems” that were widespread at that time and had their “intelligence” inoculated by experts in elaborate programming.

Anyhow, I find this infographic extremely practical. Everyone is free to add further turning points in the history of digitization to this overview!

A brief Chronicle of Digitization


Sebastian Zang

The author is a manager in the software industry with international expertise: Authorized officer at one of the large consulting firms - Responsible for setting up an IT development center at the Bangalore offshore location - Director M&A at a software company in Berlin.