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The Internet and American Business (History of Computing)

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The effect of a commercialized Internet on American business, from the boom in e-commerce and adjustments by bricks-and-mortar businesses to file-sharing and community building.

When we think of the Internet, we generally think of Amazon, Google, Hotmail, Napster, MySpace, and a host of other sites for buying products, searching for information, downloading entertainment, chatting with friends, or posting photographs. If we examine the historical literature about the Internet, however, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that none of these topics is covered. This book aims to fix this problem.

It is not as though historians and academically minded journalists have not paid attention to the Internet. Yet their focus has mainly been on the origins of the Internet in the 1960s and 1970s through the efforts of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) to build a network to connect defense researchers and later military sites to one another. When not focused on ARPA, this historical literature has addressed the use of these networks in the 1980s mainly by the scientific community to communicate with one another, share data, and gain remote access to powerful computing facilities.

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