The Hotmail email service was launched on 4th July 1996 by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith. It was one of the first free web-based (webmail) email services in the world along with Four 11’s RocketMail. The name was chosen because it had the four letters H, T, M and L in sequence. In fact, in the original logo the letters were in caps as in HoTMaiL.
In less than 2 years, Microsoft, the industry giant decided to buy the service for a staggering $400 million. The two founders became millionaires and the talk of the silicon valley. In contrast, Yahoo! had bought Four11 a few months before for $just 92 million.
During development, Netscape Navigator browser was known as Mozilla. It stood for "Mosaic-Killer". That's because Netscape was being developed by the creators of NCSA Mosaic, the browser that popularised the web. NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) considered Mosaic their property and didn't appreciate the idea of the original programmers leaving their organisation to join/found a company. Jim Clark, co-founder of Netscape Communications and the main force behind it, made it clear to everyone that Netscape Navigator is to be developed from scratch and not a single line of Mosaic's code is to be used. The Mozilla name has now been taken up by the open source successor of the company. The irony is that Netscape was intended to be free only for non-commercial, academic and non-profit organisations. [more...]