RIP AltaVista: 1995-2013
July 2, 2013 12:20 PM
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A failed IPO, a mess of different owners and failure to innovate killed the search engine
AltaVista is one of those things you either have no idea about, or if you remember it, you thought it was shut down years ago. Surprise!
, an early search engine that started in 1995, is still around today. However, these are its end days, as the search market continues to be dominated by the likes of Google (or just Google, actually).
AltaVista is expected to be laid to rest July 8.
AltaVista circa 1999
The archaic search engine started off strong and successful during the Internet boom of the 1990s, but hit some trouble after a failed initial public offering (IPO) back in 2000. The company was supposed to raise $300 million in December 1999 for the expected April 2000 IPO, but cancelled it due to a drop in the Nasdaq Stock Market.
From there, AltaVista went through several acquisitions. It was founded by Digital Equipment Corporation in 1995, which was acquired by Compaq in 1998 and merged with Hewlett-Packard in 2002. Overture Services then bought AltaVista alone in 2003, and Overture was purchaased by Yahoo in 2003.
Aside from failed IPOs and a mess of different owners, AltaVista just couldn't innovate enough to keep up with Google or Yahoo.
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7/2/2013 10:40:44 PM
Ahhh, DEC AltaVista. It provided a nice alternative to lycos.cs.cmu.edu, and I used it often, for a while, in the 1990s. I got lots of amusement out of Babblefish, too.
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