Every single time I describe my thesis to geeks, I inevitably get the response: “Ooh, how far are you going back? As far as UNIX TALK?

Er. Yeah, something like that.

I posted the first section of a paper I wrote on the topic (which I am very much cannibalizing for my thesis) eons ago, but I thought I’d show you guys the timeline I am working with so that you can a) be enlightened by just how far back IM goes and/or b) tell me of big important things I’m missing. Yes? Love you too.

  • 1965 – .SAVED written for CTSS
  • 1974 – Term-talk for PLATO
  • Late 1970s – talk for BSD Unix
  • 1981 – BITNET‘s MSG developed–would eventually turn into IRC
  • 1983 – Unix talk updated (renamed ytalk) to use split windows
  • 1983 – Project AthenaZephyr
  • 1983 – The Internet is Born
  • 1985 – On Line Messages for Quantum Link for Commodore 64
  • 1985 – SMS is considered in a GSM subgroup as a potential service
  • 1992 – First SMS sent
  • 1993 – SMS commercially deployed in Sweden, the US, Norway, and UK
  • 1994 – Q-Link turns into AOL
  • 1996 – ICQ released for Windows 95. Has 12 million users in 2 years.
  • 1997 – AIM becomes available to non-AOL users
  • 1999 – MSN IM released
  • 1999 – AOL tries to sue people for the term “Buddy List”
  • 2000 – IMUnified, a consortium of IM companies like Microsoft and Yahoo, start pushing for an interoperable protocol
  • 2000 – Trillian released the first version (0.6) that could connect to AIM, ICQ, and MSN.
  • 2000 – Jabber released publicly
  • 2002 – Patent for ICQ
  • 2005 – Microsoft and Yahoo made their clients interoperable, marking the beginning of the end of the IM wars