A Timeline of the Internet and E-Retailing: Milestones of Influence and Concurrent Events
- From family shops and general stores to department stores, during the turn of the century, Marshall Field and R. H. Macy recognized that the railroad system and refrigeration enabled shoppers to travel more widely and choose from a greater assortment of merchandise.
- Department stores offer more convenient, consolidated locations, longer hours, and better prices.
- Department stores to malls, the first shopping center was built in Missouri. The consumer demands specialized product knowledge, customer service- more personal attention and payment ease.
- Technological developments deliver automobiles, refrigerators in homes, and the birth of catalogs.
- Radio broadcasting begins.
- Supermarket chains are established.
- The Great Depression puts 1 in 3 workers out of work.
- First shopping mall opened at Highland Park Shopping Village, Dallas.
- The introduction of national brands such as Wonder Bread and Hostess were established.
- The 8-hour workday and minimum wage laws are put in place.
- Television broadcasting begins.
- Pearl Harbor is bombed.
- The first convenience store, 7-11, opens in Texas.
- IBM releases its first computer, the 701.
- First McDonald's opens in Des Plaines, IL.
- The first credit cards were issued by Franklin National Bank in New York.
- The construction of the first indoor regional mall: Southdale mall, in Edina, Minnesota.
- Minimum wage is $1.00
- Boeing builds first production 707 jet.
- President Eisenhower forms the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) to coordinate all American technological research.
- Texas Instruments invents the microchip.
- The Internet is first conceived in the early '60s. Under the leadership of the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA), it grows from a paper architecture into a small network (ARPANET) intended to promote the sharing of super-computers amongst researchers in the United States.
- The next big retail shift (from malls to discount stores) came when Sam Walton opens the first Wal-Mart.
- Kmart and Target opens their doors. The big three rely on low costs and high turnover to provide customers with lower prices.
- The RAND Corporation begins research into robust, distributed communication networks for military command and control.
- Beatles play for the Queen of England.
- Doug Engelbart invents the mouse.
- 'Dr Strangelove' portrays nuclear holocaust which new network must survive.
- The DOD's Advanced Research Project Association begins work on 'ARPANET'
- ARPA sponsors research into a "cooperative network of time-sharing computers."
- US Surveyor probe lands safely on moon
- Kroger installs the first retail bar-code scanner in Cincinnati supermarket.
- First ARPANET papers presented at Association for Computing Machinery Symposium by scientists at BB&N, in Cambridge, and at Stanford University, based scientists J.R. Licklider and Leonard Kleinrock.
- Delegates at a symposium for the Association for Computing Machinery in Gatlingberg, TN discuss the first plans for the ARPANET.
- First generation of networking hardware and software designed.
- First Gap store opens in San Francisco, Calif.
- Wal-Mart is the first retailers to integrate computer systems to transform business practice. The mass retailers set up an independent distribution system to gain the volume necessary for negotiating with suppliers, track inventory, and allow for just-in-time replenishment.
- ARPANET connects first 4 universities in the United States. Researchers at four US campuses create the first hosts of the ARPANET, connecting Stanford Research Institute, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah.
- Chemical Bank, New York, is the first the install an ATM.
1970 - 1973
- The ARPANET is a success from the very beginning. Although originally designed to allow scientists to share data and access remote computers, email quickly becomes the most popular application. The ARPANET becomes a high-speed digital post office as people use it to collaborate on research projects and discuss topics of various interests.
- As consumers enter the economic recession of the 1970s, they began to demand even lower prices, and discount retailers flourished.
- ALOHANET developed at the University of Hawaii
- Intel creates microprocessor.
- Economic "stagflation" of the 1970s begin after a tax hikes in '67 and '68 for the War on Poverty and the War in Vietnam.
- The ARPANET grows to 23 hosts connecting universities and government research centers around the country.
- Tech journalist don Hoefler coins the term â€œSilcon Valley."
- Fred Smith founds Federal Express
- The InterNetworking Working Group becomes the first of several standards setting entities to govern the growing network. Vinton Cerf is elected the first chairman of the INWG, and later becomes known as a "Father of the Internet."
- The @ sign wins as the locating symbol for e-mail addresses.
- The ARPANET goes international with connections to University College in London, England and the Royal Radar Establishment in Norway.
- OPEC cuts oil shipments to the US. The oil shock leads to federal car fuel economy rules. Makers often sell small, fuel efficient vehicles at losses to boost their mileage average and avoid federal fines.
1974 - 1981
- The general public gets its first vague hint of how networked computers can be used in daily life as the commercial version of the ARPANET goes online. The ARPANET starts to move away from its military/research roots.
- Bolt, Beranek & Newman opens Telenet, the first commercial version of the ARPANET.
- Internet operations transferred to the Defense Communications Agency.
- Bill Gates, Paul Allen found Microsoft to sell their BASIC as operating software for the Altair computer.
- Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak build the first Apple computer in a backyard garage.
- Queen Elizabeth goes online with the first royal email message.
- UUCP provides email on THEORYNET
- Home Depot opens its first stores.
- Chicago hobbyist Ward Christensen writes a software program called MODEM.
- TCP checksum design finalized.
- Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, two grad students at Duke University, and Steve Bellovin at the University of North Carolina establish the first USENET news groups. Users from all over the world join these discussion groups to talk about the net, politics, religion and thousands of other subjects.
Intel rolls out the 8088 microprocessor, which is the brains of the first IBM computer.
- Retail focus turns from discount stores to category killers and club stores. Toys 'R' Us, Home Depot, Circuit City and Sam's Club came to prominence. Retail merger and acquisitions era begins.
- Mark Andreesen turns 8. 14 more years till he revolutionizes the Web
- First computer virus causes a system crash.
- Inflation tops 14%.
- Japan passes US as world's No.1 automaker.
- ARPANET has 213 hosts. A new host is added approximately once every 20 days.
- The Xerox Star 8010 is the first computer with a mouse and graphical user interface. Priced tag:$16,000. IBM's first personal computer makes it debut.
- Prime interest rate hits 21/5%, highest since the Civil War.
1982 - 1987
- Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf are key members of a team which creates TCP/IP, the common language of all Internet computers. For the first time the loose collection of networks which made up the ARPANET is seen as an "Internet", and the Internet as we know it today is born.
- The mid-80s marks a boom in the personal computer and super-minicomputer industries. The combination of inexpensive desktop machines and powerful, network-ready servers allows many companies to join the Internet for the first time. Corporations begin to use the Internet to communicate with each other and with their customers.
- The term 'Internet' is used for the first time. It means a system to connect separate networks of computers - a network of networks.
- TCP/IP becomes the universal language of the Internet
- William Gibson coins the term "cyberspace" in his novel "Neuromancer." The number of Internet hosts exceeds 1,000.
- The system of "domain names" (such as Indiana.com) is created.
- The break up of the nation's phone company AT&T into seven regional bells for local service.
- Internet e-mail and news groups now part of life at many universities.
- US becomes largest debtor nation, debt passes $2 trillion in '86.
- Microsoft goes public, and Bill Gates, at 30, is the world's youngest billionaire.
- Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio creates the first "FreeNet" for the Society for Public Access Computing.
- Senator Al Gore sponsors the Supercomputer Network Act. This legislation help launch support for research, technology transfer and e-commerce initiatives.
- The number of Internet hosts exceeds 10,000.
- October 19th, Wall Street lays an egg. The Dow falls 22%, its worst day ever.
- By 1988 the Internet is an essential tool for communications, however it also begins to create concerns about privacy and security in the digital world. New words, such as "hacker," "cracker" and" electronic break-in", are created. These new worries are dramatically demonstrated on Nov. 1, 1988 when a malicious program called the "Internet Worm" temporarily disables approximately 6,000 of the 60,000 Internet hosts.
- Reintroduction of hypermarkets; and the rise of the superstores begin.
- Internet worm unleashed The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) is formed to address security concerns raised by the Worm.
- Gore introduces the High-Performance Computer Act, which paves the way for widespread access to the still-restricted Internet by universities, colleges and libraries.
- First connection of commercial e-mail system to the Internet.
- System administrator turned author, Clifford Stoll, catches a group of Cyberspies, and writes the best-seller "The Cuckoo's Egg."
- The number of Internet hosts exceeds 100,000.
- President Bush signs "bailout" legislation to clean up collapse of savings and loan industry.
- (1990s) Retail category killers make up about one-third of overall US retail revenues. Malls, specialty stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and other retailers knowing they couldn't compete on price decided to stress the quality of the shopping "experience" rather than just the products they sold launching "retailtainment." Mall of America, world's largest mall opens in Minneapolis.
- A happy victim of its own unplanned, unexpected success, the ARPANET is decommissioned, leaving only the vast network-of-networks called the Internet. The number of hosts exceeds 300,000.
- Corporations wishing to use the Internet face a serious problem: commercial network traffic is banned from the National Science Foundation's NSFNET, the backbone of the Internet. In 1991 the NSF lifts the restriction on commercial use, clearing the way for the age of electronic commerce.
- At the University of Minnesota, a team led by computer programmer Mark MaCahill releases "gopher," the first point-and-click way of navigating the files of the Internet. Originally designed to ease campus communications, gopher is freely distributed on the Internet. MaCahill calls it "the first Internet application my mom can use."
- The World Wide Web is born! Tim Berners-Lee(now of MIT), working at CERN in Switzerland, posts the first computer code of the World Wide Web in a relatively innocuous news group, "alt.hypertext." The ability to combine words, pictures, and sounds on Web pages excites many computer programmers who see the potential for publishing information on the Internet in a way that can be as easy as using a word processor. The birth of the Internet as we know it today. Tim Berners-Lee's new system allows access to information by simply clicking on a "link" within a document located on a computer down the hall or around the world.
- One million hosts have multiâ€‘media access to the Internet over the MBONE
- The first audio and video broadcasts take place over a portion of the Internet known as the "MBONE." More than 1,000,000 hosts are part of the Internet.
- The first study of efficient consumer response is released.
- Sears drops its general merchandise catalog.
- Marc Andreesen and a group of student programmers at NCSA (the National Center for Supercomputing Applications located on the campus of University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign) develops a graphical browser for the World Wide Web called Mosaic.
- Traffic on the Internet expands at a 341,634% annual growth rate.
- Intel rolls out the first Pentium, which was a 60Mhz microprocessor.
- Federal agents siege a cult compound outside of Waco, Texas.
- North American Free Trade Agreement takes effect.
- CompUSA registers it's domain name compusa.com
- The Rolling Stones broadcast the Voodoo Lounge tour over the M-Bone. Marc Andreesen and Jim Clark form Netscape Communications Corp. Pizza Hut accepts orders for a mushroom, pepperoni with extra cheese over the net, and Japan's Prime Minister goes online at www.kantei.go.jp.
- Backbone traffic exceeds 10 trillion bytes per month.
- Economic expansion continues at a healthy pace. The Federal Reserve Board raises short-term interest rates six times in 1994 as part of an effort to dampen growth.
- Former professional football star O.J. Simpson is arrested and charged for double murders.
- Retailers focus on the strategy "store as brand."
- Existing online services (Prodigy, CompuServe, AOL) begin offering access to the Internet.
- Amazon sells its first book.
- A record number of mergers and acquisitions are announced, these include: Walt Disney takeover of Capital Cities/ABC, Westinghouse Electric acquires CBS, and Time Warner and Turner Broadcasting merge.
- NSFNET reverts back to a research project, leaving the Internet in commercial hands. The Web now comprises the bulk of Internet traffic. The Vatican launches www.vatican.va. James Gosling and a team of programmers at Sun Microsystems release an Internet programming language called Java, which radically alters the way applications and information can be retrieved, displayed, and used over the Internet.
- Oklahoma City Federal building is bombed, killing 168 people.
- Nearly 10 million hosts online. The Internet covers the globe. The Age of the Internet has arrived.
- Portals and electronic retailers grabbed most of the Web headlines.
- As the Internet celebrates its 25th anniversary, the military strategies that influenced its birth become historical footnotes. Approximately 40 million people are connected to the Internet. More than $1 billion per year changes hands at Internet shopping malls, and Internet related companies like Netscape are the darlings of highâ€‘tech investors.
- Users in almost 150 countries around the world are now connected to the Internet. The number of computer hosts approaches 10 million.
- Within 30 years, the Internet has grown from a Cold War concept for controlling the tattered remains of a post-nuclear society to the Information Superhighway. Just as the railroads of the 19th century enabled the Machine Age, and revolutionized the society of the time, the Internet takes us into the Information Age, and profoundly affects the world in which we live.
- Employees telecommute over the Internet, allowing them to choose where to live based on quality of life, not proximity to work. Many cities view the Internet as a solution to their clogged highways and fouled air. Schools use the Internet as a vast electronic library, with untold possibilities. Doctors use the Internet to consult with colleagues half a world away. And even as the Internet offers a single Global Village, it threatens to create a 2nd class citizenship among those without access. A new generation grows up as accustomed to communicating through a keyboard as in person.
- Retail sales are up 4.2% from 1996.
- Heaven's Gate cult commits mass suicide. The cult's Website and its members' involvement in Web design boost the Net's popularity with alienated teens.
- Year end retail sales are up 5/1% from 1997 year end.
- eBay's stock soars 163% on its first day of trading.
- The number of Internet hosts climb to 29 million.
- Apple debuts the iMac -sans floppy drive.
- The median household net worth surges 17.6% from 1995 to 1998.
- Retail sales are up 8.9% to $3 trillion. This increase is the largest annual increase in retail sales in 15 years.
- Online sales of brick-and-mortar brands more than doubled to nearly $20 billion, accounting for 59% of total retail sales on the Web.
- Some 1.5 million people try to witness online fashion show for lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret. Hello, gridlock.
- 'Chill' grips stock market as tech stocks plummet in August.
- Chain Store Age reports that retail stocks were mediocre in 1999. Biggest winners: Ultimate Electronics, Tiffany, Tandy, Catherine Stores, Circuit City, Urban Outfitters and Wal-Mart. Biggest losers: Appliance City, Rite Aid, Paul Harris, eToys, Phar-Mor and Eagle Food Centers.
- Gore quoted in CNN interview, "I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
- Two companies offer free computers to anyone who signs a long-term contact for Internet service.
- President Clinton unveiled a new economic projection that adds $1 trillion the federal budget. The Republicans are calling for a tax cut.
- March 29th, the Dow Jones Stock Averages closes above the 10,000 level for the first time ever; stock valuations remain a concern, many investors fear that the market is overvalued and ripe for a plunge. Stocks in the S&P 500 are trading at 34 times their earnings for the previous four quarters.
- Two teens storm Colorado's Columbine High School, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others.
- Home Depot joins Dow average, Sears exits.
- Gap Takes a Fall - In 2000, Gap Inc. changed their merchandise direction, stopped running TV ads, and saw many top executives leave the company.
- Firestone Tires recalls 6.5 million tries due to safety concerns.
- The CEO Switch - In 2000 Lee Scott replaced David Glass as Wal-Mart's president and CEO, Allen Questrom left Barneys New York and replaced James Oesterreicher as President and CEO of J.C. Penney, Alan Lacy rose to CEO of Sears, succeeding Aurther Martinez, Chuck Conaway is president and CEO of Kmart, H.W. Mullins resigned as chairman and CEO of Neiman Marcus, Christina Johnson became CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue.
- US retail sales are $800 billion, estimated revenue from US online shopping is $25 to $30 billion.
- News headlines: "With stock prices sagging, department-store chains may be ripe for takeover."
- Posted on the Internet: Philip Morris admits smoking hazard and JFK Jr plane crash examined.
- Women represent 50.4% of all Internet users.
- President Clinton hosts "cyber summit".
- Love Bug computer virus spreads.
- Network Wizards estimates the number of Internet host to be more than 56 million.
- Microsoft found in violation of antitrust law.
- Gap's Drexler reports that he views the company's online business as a tool that drives traffic into stores...sales done in the stores themselves are the most profitable, as oppose to online or catalog.
- News headlines: "Steidmann: Pure-Plays have a Big Shakeout Coming in 2001" - Cliff-hanger Christmas.
- Wal-Mart reports "Web Site Woes".
- Apparel is the third most popular item to obtain online for Holiday 2000.
- AOL agrees to buy Time Warner for $165 billion, swapping cybercash for good old-fashion debt.
- Third-quarter revenues almost triples for Bluefly Inc. but the online apparel off-pricer's losses still widened to $5 million, or $1.01 a share.
- boo.com Cries "Boo-Hoo" - world's biggest dot-com failure, owes $30 million to external creditors.
- Despite cyber flame out, holiday 2000 expects a 71 percent increase in sales online.
- More than two-thirds of direct marketers - including catalogers, TV shopping channels and membership clubs - currently conducting e-commerce are making money online.
- In January The INS orders that Elian Gonzalez, a six-year-old Cuban refugee at the center of an international custody dispute, be returned to his father in Cuba. Federal agents forcibly took custody and in June the boy was returned to Cuba.
- Golf professional, Tiger Woods, becomes the youngest player to win the "grand slam," golf's four major tournaments.
- The Federal Reserve Board finds signs of economic slow down and raises interest rates, the sixth time since June 1999.
- Florida certifies George Bush as the winner of the state electoral votes in the US presidential race. Al Gore files challenge.
- 2000 Census count puts the population at 281 million, an increase of 13.2% increase since 1990. California is number one, followed by Texas and New York.
- At the end of 2000, the Dow Jones Average slid 6.1%, closing down 710 points from 1999 year-end level. The hardest hit stocks are technology, media, and e-commerce companies, precisely the sector that had driven the previous year's record growth. Analysts characterizes the trend as the worst U.S. investment bubble-bursting of the century.
- First quarter results show consumer's spending slowed, the stock market tumbled, and retailing is stalled.
- Sears, Roebuck & Co closes 89 stores; JCPenney Co. closes 50 stores.
- Montgomery Ward & Co and Bradless Inc. announces that they are going out of business.
- Apparel firm Warnaco, maker of Calvin Klein jeans, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection, battered by $3.1 billion in debt.
- Sears announce the restructuring plan for their mall based store to resemble "a Kohl's format."
- Some retailers recall 2001 as the "year of the markdown."
- Bebe remains number one on the annual Chain Stores Age list of top performing retailers.
- Gap ends 2001 comparable store sales down 13% but vows to "return to updated-classics-and-basics" in product selection going forward.
- Procter & Gamble Co., the largest US household-products manufacturer, announces that is will cut 9,600 jobs, or 9% of its workforce. Charles Schwab Corp., announces a 13% lay off, as many as 3,400 employees, and Compaq Computer Corp., the world's largest personal computer producer says it will fire 5,000 workers, or 7% of its full-time workforce.
- Firestone agrees to pay $7.85 million for injuries resulting from a tire separation on a Ford Explorer that rolled over, in the first such case against the tire maker. Later, Bridgestone/Firestone says it will pay as much as $51.5 million in a settlement that averts lawsuits by states over tires that were involved in hundreds of accidents.
- GM and Ford saw October sales soar as buyers rushed to take advantage of 0% financing programs.
- WWD released findings from an exclusive new consumer behavior study entitled "America's New consumers: How Internet Use is Redefining the Marketplace."
- US Army unveils its new Web site.
- Napster, a company that offered computer users the ability to share music over the Internet global computer network for free, is court ordered to stop allowing the exchange of copyrighted music.
- The FCC concludes the largest federal auction of wireless licenses in US history.
- Dell Computer posts a $101 million loss, its first in eight years, citing price competition.
- First quarter, Federated Department Stores substantially expands its online offerings. Fourth quarter, Federated Department Stores announces the closing of their .com businesses to consumers.
- Wal-Mart Web site downsizes its workforce and inventory.
- Eddie-Bauer.com remains profitable, despite the retailer's comparable-store and catalog poor performance.
- Webvan, the online grocer that epitomized the buoyant optimism that the Internet could revolutionize even the most entrenched industries, closed after running out of money.
- Amazon "gets serious" about profitability and after losing $1.4 billion shifts their watchwords from "get big fast" to "march to profitability." The leading retailer on the Internet lays off 1,300 employees, or 15% of its workforce. Fourth quarter, Amazon.com posts its first-ever profit, one cent per share.
- Priceline posts its first-ever profit by cutting costs and reviving sales, making it one of the most prominent Internet companies to become profitable.
- Holiday E-Retail sales expected to rise 30%. Seventy percent of on-line browsers made a purchase via the Internet during the 2001 holiday season.
- Interest rates are cut ten times to spur "sluggish" economic growth.
- NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt is killed when his car crashes on the last lap of the Daytona 500.
- California faces a mounting energy crisis, implements rolling blackouts and sets record power-rate hikes.
- American Lance Armstrong wins bicycling's Tour de France for a third year.
- Barry Bonds broke baseball's single-season home-run record by hitting number 73.
- George Harrison dies; two Beatles remaining.
- Economy "officially" enters a recession.
- President Bush vows to push ahead with plans to open up parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas drilling.
- Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is executed by lethal injection in Terre Haute, IN.
- In the wake of a 60 percent Nasdaq correction there is a frenzy of finger-pointing amid the popped-com compulsion to explain a market bubble that, however briefly, valued Amazon over Barnes & Noble, eToys over toy "R" Us and Palm computing over its venerable parent, 3Com. Wall Street analysts, venture capitalists are blamed for spinning unrealistic tales of dot-com success for investors; and strategy consultants who supplied the buzzwords and business rationales are charged as the most outspoken Internet boosters in corporate America.
- September 11th marks the attack on the World Trade Center. Thousands of lives, billions of dollars and the country's sense of security were all lost in the horrible events that day in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. At the same time, the date also was marked by countless numbers of heroic actions.
- Stocks sink in the first day of trading after the terrorist attacks, with the industrials tumbling 684.81 points, or 7.13%. Airline, travel and insurance stocks are hit hardest. Four days later, the industrials post their worst weekly percentage loss in 61 years, falling 14.3%.
- Thirty-one days following 9/11, stocks surge, restoring the last of the $1.38 trillion in market value lost in the declines. Both Nasdaq and the S&P 500 return to their preattack closes.
- By mid-fourth quarter, consumers are confident that the economy will pick up, even with an eroding job market.
- The euro becomes the common currency for 12 European nations.
- Kmart Corp. files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, announces closing of 284 stores and cuts 22,000 jobs.
- The 2002 Winter Olympics are held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Merger of Hewlett Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp. is approved.
- AOL Time Warner reports biggest quarterly loss in U.S. history.
- Unemployment rate for April jumps to 6%, highest rate in nearly eight years.
- R.J. Reynolds Co. is fined $20 million for violating terms of a tobacco settlement by advertising aimed at teens.
- The Beltway sniper attacks occur in the Washington, DC area.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls below 7,200 as the Dot Com bubble nearly reaches its bottom.
- Iran bans the advertising of United States products.
- Martha Stewart is indicted and resigns as chairperson and CEO of Martha Stewart Living.
- The Dow Jones Industrial average goes above 10,000 for the first time in 19 months.
- Space shuttle Columbia explodes, killing all 7 astronauts.
- Home Depot plans first store in Manhattan, also goes online.
- Weekly online retail sales reaches a record setting $2 billion, growing more than 25% from 2002.
- Supreme Court decisively upholds the right of affirmative action in higher education.
- The World Health Organization issues a global alert on SARS.
- Saddam Hussein, former President of Iraq, is captured in Tikrit by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.
- Apple launches the iTunes store.
- Number of Americans who download music or share music files online decreases due to impact of recording industry's campaign against illegal downloads.
- Luxury Items and Jewelry online sales grow more quickly than any other segments during holiday season.
- NASA's MER-A lands on Mars.
- Google goes public, price of shares is $85.
- Disney sells 313 stores.
- Facebook was founded at Cambridge, Massachussetts.
- Summer Olympics Open in Athens, Greece.
- The last Oldsmobile rolls off of the assembly line.
- President Bush is reelected in close race against Democrat John Kerry.
- Stem Cell Research Approved in California.
- Massive earthquake and tsunami devastate Southeast Asia.
- Toys R Us shifts focus from Toys to Babies as part of restructuring.
- The Internet site YouTube goes online.
- Pope John Paul II dies; over 4 million people travel to the Vatican to mourn him.
- Online pharmacies increase in popularity due to convenience and price.
- Live 8, a set of 10 simultaneous concerts, takes place throughout the world, raising interest in the Make Poverty History campaign.
- Lance Armstrong wins a record 7th straight Tour de France before his scheduled retirement.
- Hurricane Katrina strikes coastal areas in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi.
- Oil prices rise sharply following the economic effects of Hurricane Katrina.
- The U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 2,000.
- After mergers, Macy's had 424 stores throughout the U.S.
- Gap launches Forth & Towne concept, targets older demographic.
- Retailers begin to use the term "Cyber Monday" referring to the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the ceremonial kick-off of the holiday online shopping season in the United States between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Burberry and H&M drop Kate Moss after allegations of drug use surface.
- Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan announces end of housing boom as housing market cools.
- Enron's Ken Lay and Jeffery Skilling are convicted of defrauding investors.
- GM and Ford make restructuring plans, each planning to shut down plants and lay-off workers.
- Gas prices rise above $3/gallon and remain at that level for most of the summer.
- Wal-Mart is attacked by labor unions and community activists on labor practices and imports.
- Bill Gates announces that he will step down as CEO of Microsoft to focus on his charitable foundation.
- Ben Bernanke takes over as new Federal Reserve Chairman.
- Online Apparel Spending in the United States Grows 32% in the Third Quarter.
- The UK's Tesco has growing success in online grocery market.
- The price of petroleum hits $100 per barrel for the first time.
- Democrat Nancy Pelosi Becomes First Woman Speaker of the House
- Netflix announces its billionth delivery.
- Federal Reserve Pumps Billions into Financial System to steady volatile markets.
- Apple ships its first Apple TV.
- Whole Foods acquires Wild Oats in the grocery market.
- Former vice president Al Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize for his work on educating the public about global warming.
- Congress passes ambitious package that requires passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. to have fuel economy standards of 35 mpg by 2020.
- Report accuses 89 current and former Major League Baseball players of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
- TJ Maxx reveals that hackers have information from more than 40 million credit cards.
- Amazon launches the Kindle, a device for reading electronic books.
- Republican Bobby Jindal takes office as governor of Louisiana, the first elected Indian-American governor in the United States.
- Microsoft Makes Hostile Bid for Yahoo, then withdraws bid.
- Best Buy purchases Napster.
- Congress Passes Bill to Help Ailing Housing Market.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average drops 778 points, it's biggest point decline ever.
- The gross domestic product drops 0.3%, the first decrease in the GDP in 17 years.
- Democratic senator Barack Obama wins the presidential election against Sen. John McCain, becoming the first African American to be elected president of the United States.
- Circuit City closes all of its stores.
- US Airways Flight 1549 falls in the Hudson River off Manhattan. All 155 passengers and crew are evacuated and taken to safety.
- The IMF issues its worst outlook for the world economy in 60 years.