Had been planning just to tweet this now (someone old) story in the Wall Street Journal about Who Really Invented the Internet but thought I’d comment just a bit. The opinion piece is written by Gordon Crovitz, who seems to have some really solid, heavy-duty credentials – they make me look like a special needs student:
Gordon Crovitz is a media and information industry advisor and executive, including former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, executive vice president of Dow Jones and president of its Consumer Media Group. He has been active in digital media since the early 1990s, overseeing the growth of The Wall Street Journal Online to more than one million paying subscribers, making WSJ.com the largest paid news site on the Web. He launched the Factiva business-search service and led the acquisition for Dow Jones of the MarketWatch Web site, VentureOne database, Private Equity Analyst newsletter and online news services VentureWire (Silicon Valley), e-Financial News (London) and VWD (Frankfurt).
He is co-founder of Journalism Online, a member of the board of directors of ProQuest and Blurb and is on the board of advisors of several early-stage companies, including SocialMedian (sold to XING), UpCompany, Halogen Guides, YouNoodle, Peer39, SkyGrid, ExpertCEO and Clickability. He is an investor in Betaworks, a New York incubator for startups, and in Business Insider.
Earlier in his career, Gordon wrote the “Rule of Law” column for the Journal and won several awards including the Gerald Loeb Award for business commentary. He was editor and publisher of the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong and editorial-page editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe in Brussels.
He graduated from the University of Chicago and has law degrees from Wadham College, Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes scholar, and Yale Law School.
Anyway, the premise of the article is that the US government didn’t create the internet:
It’s an urban legend that the government launched the Internet. The myth is that the Pentagon created the Internet to keep its communications lines up even in a nuclear strike. The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens—and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way.
Interesting premise, but quite surprised by some statements he makes in support of it which seem to be a bit inaccurate. Such as equating the invention of Ethernet with the invention of the internet. Or suggesting that the Ethernet was “developed to link different computer networks”.
Oops. Looks like others have already dissected this much more thoroughly. See Ars Technica and the LA Times.