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  • Adieu to the Minitel

    Posted by David Foster on June 29th, 2012 (All posts by )

    Saturday will mark the end of its 30-year run.

    Some Minitel history here.

    via Gongol


    2 Responses to “Adieu to the Minitel”

    1. Lexington Green Says:

      A government’s stunted, pathetic idea of what the Internet was supposed to be.

    2. David Foster Says:

      Commercialization of the Internet didn’t take place until the late 1980s/early 1990s. For the World Wide Web, public availability was announced in 1991, but WWW did not really take off until the Mosaic browser was introduced in 1993.

      Minitel was field-tested in Brittany in 1978 and rolled out nationwide in France in 1982. I think a better point of comparison than the Internet would be the proprietary consumer-oriented text oriented systems such as America OnLine (1983), Compuserve (1978, for the consumer service), General Electric’s GENIE (1985), Prodigy (1984), etc. NONE of these services has exactly covered itself with glory in the transition to the Internet age, and most have not survived at all.

      I don’t know a whole lot about Minitel, but my impression is that it compares very favorably with services such as the above, and was head and shoulders above anything done by the US monopolies and pseudo-monopolies (USPS, AT&T) comparable to the French PTT.