Economic Perspectives on the History of the Computer Timesharing Industry
37 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2006
Date Written: January 20, 2006
The history of the computer timesharing industry is one of the unwritten chapters in the overall history of computing. The very few books and articles that consider computer timesharing at all treat the "computer utility" phenomenon as the industry that could have changed the shape and structure of computing but never quite did. In this paper we show that the timesharing industry - while falling short of the vision of the computer utility - constituted a major sector of the computer services industry until the early 1980s, when timesharing was made obsolescent by the personal computer. In the nearly two decades that timesharing flourished, it provided an online experience for hundreds of thousands of users and stimulated the growth of public data communications networks.
Keywords: Timesharing, Computing, History
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation