1971 : The first e-mail is sent. Ray Tomlinson of the research firm Bolt, Beranek and Newman sent the first e-mail when he was supposed to be working on a different project. Tomlinson, who is credited with being the one to decide on the "@" sign for use in e-mail, sent his message over a military network called ARPANET. When asked to describe the contents of the first email, Tomlinson said it was “something like "QWERTYUIOP
An IBM team, originally led by David Noble, invented the 8-inch floppy diskette. It was initially designed for use in loading microcode into the controller for the "Merlin" (IBM 3330) disk pack file. It quickly won widespread acceptance as a program and data-storage medium. Unlike hard drives, a user could easily transfer a floppy in its protective jacket from one drive to another.
The first advertisement for a microprocessor, the Intel 4004, appeared in Electronic News. Developed for Busicom, a Japanese calculator maker, the 4004 had 2250 transistors and could perform up to 90,000 operations per second in four-bit chunks. Federico Faggin led the design and Ted Hoff led the architecture.
RCA sells its computer division. RCA was founded in 1919 to make vacuum tubes for radio, then a new invention. RCA began designing and selling its own computers in the early 1950s, competing with IBM and several other companies. By the 1970s, RCA, as well as other computer makers, were struggling to compete against IBM. RCA made their machines IBM-compatible, but ultimately even this strategy proved unsuccessful. RCA announced it would no longer build computers in 1971, selling its computer business to Sperry-Rand.
The Kenbak-1, the first personal computer, advertised for $750 in Scientific American. Designed by John V. Blankenbaker using standard medium-scale and small-scale integrated circuits, the Kenbak-1 relied on switches for input and lights for output from its 256-byte memory. In 1973, after selling only 40 machines, Kenbak Corp. closed its doors.