Cd Rom: A Mass Medium At Last

In the early 1980s, engineers at Philips in the Netherlands and Sony Corp. in Japan had a similar idea: What if the compact disks that the two giants had invented for sound recordings could be used for computer-data storage? As it turned out, a CD could hold the equivalent of more than 1,000 floppy disks. By 1986, soon after the two companies introduced the CD-ROM format, Microsoft Corp. started an annual conference to drum up interest among software makers. But despite a wave of industry excitement over the technology, computer buyers ignored it. Says one analyst: "For a long time, it was freakish how low the sales volumes were."

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