The 1995 Blog

1995: The year the future began

‘1995 was watershed moment,’ says Intel CEO

The year “1995 was a watershed moment in consumer technology,” the CEO of Intel Corporation, Brian M. Krzanich, declared the other day in the keynote speech to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

And he was quite right.

The year was a watershed in many respects, as I discuss in my latest book, 1995: The Year the Future Began. Including the consumer application of once-remote digital technology.

Intel CEO Krzanich

Intel CEO Krzanich: Calls 1995 a ‘watershed’

But never has the watershed character of 1995 in technology been displayed in such a glitzy and entertaining fashion as it was at the outset of Krzanich’s remarks Tuesday at the ballroom of the Venetian Hotel.

Krzanich took to the ballroom stage and predicted that 2015 will mark “the beginning of the next technology-consumer wave” and added:

“The last time we’ve seen a wave of change this big was exactly 20 years ago, today.”

With that, the huge screens behind him came to life to play a flashy video that recalled 1995 as a decisive and pivotal time in computer technology.

Numerals spelling out “1995” appeared on the screen, followed by a splashy sequence of images (such as the Windows 95 logo) that evoked the year. The narrated voice declared:

From the CES video (Credit: The Verge)

From the CES video (Photo credit: The Verge)

“The year is 1995. A revolution in consumer computing is about to unfold. Intel launches the Pentium Pro processor, powering a new generation of consumer applications. With the first commercial browsers, consumers discover the power of the World Wide Web. The first search engines appear, making it easy to explore the Web. The era of e-commerce is born. Intel introduces USB, creating an industry standard for connecting devices and sharing files.

“Together, these technologies launched the first wave of consumer computing that enabled richer experiences, unleashed mobility, expanded possibilities, brought us closer together, and enriched our lives. Today, we stand on the threshold of the next revolution, made possible by innovations that will soon deliver amazing experiences that are even more personal, connected, and intelligent. Welcome to 2015.”

One certainly could quibble with some of the video content. The back-patting for Intel was more than a little obvious, for example. The Universal Serial Bus connecting device, or USB, was developed by several computer and electronics companies in the mid-1990s, Intel important among them. The video’s reference to the “first search engines” included the logos of Alta Vista (which was introduced in 1995) and Google (which was not).

Such liberties notwithstanding, the video was an impressive testament to the watershed character of 1995.

The video over, Krzanich resumed his remarks: “1995 was a watershed moment in consumer technology,” he said. “But 2015 will be another important turning point. We’re going from a two-dimension world to a three-dimensional. This additional dimension will change how we experience computing.”

Could be.

But he got 1995 right. As I discuss in my book about 1995, which recently was released by University of California Press, the year was defined by no fewer than five watershed moments or developments — in new media technology, domestic terrorism, crime and justice, international diplomacy, and political scandal.

I write that “extraordinary developments … took place online in 1995,” noting it was “when the Internet and the World Wide Web moved from the obscure realm of technophiles and academic researchers to become a household word, the year when the Web went from vague and distant curiosity to a phenomenon that would change the way people work, shop, learn, communicate, and interact.”

I further point out:

“Nineteen ninety-five saw the emergence of powerful if conflicting sentiments still associated with the Internet: a cocksure swagger encouraged by novelty; a promise of vast treasure to be found in the digital marketplace; and a spirit of collaboration and community that an online environment could uniquely promote.”

It was very much a watershed year.


More from The 1995 blog:

27 comments on “‘1995 was watershed moment,’ says Intel CEO

  1. Pingback: What ‘Time’ forgot in its look back to 1995 | The 1995 Blog

  2. Pingback: Much tedium, little drama in CNN rehash of O.J. Simpson trial | The 1995 Blog

  3. Pingback: Monica Lewinsky’s essay was solid: But award-winning? Probably not | The 1995 Blog

  4. Pingback: O.J. and DNA: Applying the ‘Page 99 Test’ to ‘1995’ | The 1995 Blog

  5. Pingback: Recalling the quaint early struggles to describe the Web | The 1995 Blog

  6. Pingback: ‘The Internet? Bah!’ Classic off-target essay appeared 20 years ago | The 1995 Blog

  7. Pingback: Talking Internet history, and 1995 | The 1995 Blog

  8. Pingback: Saluting the unassuming wiki, 20 years after its launch | The 1995 Blog

  9. Pingback: The ‘cyberporn’ scare of 1995: Demonstrating the early Web’s corrective power | The 1995 Blog

  10. Pingback: The ‘Netscape Moment,’ 20 years on | The 1995 Blog

  11. Pingback: Dilemma on the Merc’s front page: Lead with Netscape? Jerry Garcia death? | The 1995 Blog

  12. Pingback: Defying critics to publish the Unabomber ‘Manifesto’ | The 1995 Blog

  13. Pingback: When America stood still: The O.J. verdicts, 20 years on | The 1995 Blog

  14. Pingback: DNA: The enduring legacy of the 1995 O.J. trial | The 1995 Blog

  15. Pingback: Million Man March: Controversial rally in a watershed year | The 1995 Blog

  16. Pingback: Prediction of the year, 1995: Internet ‘will soon go spectacularly supernova’ | The 1995 Blog

  17. Pingback: Remembering launch of Alta Vista, ‘a high-speed system for finding information’ on early Web | The 1995 Blog

  18. Pingback: Christmas and cyberspace, 1995: Toe-dipping online | The 1995 Blog

  19. Pingback: Looking back at a watershed year: 1995 in blog posts | The 1995 Blog

  20. Pingback: Beyond 1995: Accounting for the pop culture allure of the O.J. case | The 1995 Blog

  21. Pingback: The ‘Netscape Moment,’ 21 years on | The 1995 Blog

  22. Pingback: The 15 ‘most influential’ Web sites? A third of them date to 1995 | The 1995 Blog

  23. Pingback: When the Web was new: Remembering Netscape and its fall | The 1995 Blog

  24. Pingback: Checking out ‘Captain Marvel’s over-the-top, 1995-throwback Web site | The 1995 Blog

  25. Pingback: Misportrayals and missing DNA: Closing observations about flawed O.J. miniseries | The 1995 Blog

  26. Pingback: Memorable moment in an exceptional year: The Netscape IPO of 1995 | The 1995 Blog

  27. Pingback: Looking back 25 years: Alta Vista and ‘high-speed’ search for the early Web | The 1995 Blog

Comments are closed.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: