ICQ : חיבור בין אנשים והשראה ליזמים
המוצר: תוכנה להעברת מסרים מיידיים בין משתמשי מחשב
המפתחים: יאיר גולדפינגר, ספי ויגיסר, אריק ורדי ואמנון אמיר
החברה: מיראביליס תחילת פיתוח: 1996
Developers: Yair Golfinger, Sefi Vigiser, Arik Vardi, Amnon Amir
Company: Mirabilis Start of Development: 1996
The Israeli “exit” dream was first ignited in 1998 by Mirabilis when four talented young men developed a free instant messaging software named ICQ (a play on “I seek you”) . The software achieved immediate and dizzying global success: only 19 months later, Mirabilis was sold to the internet giant AOL for the imaginary sum of 407 million dollars, then an unprecedented sum in the internet field – even before showing a profit.
In the pre-social network era, the four developers, together with high tech entrepreneur and investor Yossi Vardi, father of one of the developers, understood the need to connect the people using the internet. The technology they developed enables us to know who is connected to the internet at any given place and time, and establishes communication between two people through written messages without being dependent on their internet provider.
Development began in July 1996 and concluded in November of the same year.
ICQ, the world’s first social network, was received enthusiastically by users in Israel and abroad and was swiftly distributed virally. During the first years of the 21st century, three million new users signed up each month and for seven years it was ranked in first place on the internet’s most popular site Download.com.
ICQ caused two revolutions: On the global level, this was the first time that any two people in the world with a computer and internet access could communicate with each other via instant messages; in Israel it led to what was then termed “The Mirabilis Effect”, demonstrating for the first time the speed at which a successful high-value company could be established based only on invention and creativity. The deal ignited the imagination of young Israelis and many of them subsequently turned to the internet arena.
ICQ controlled the instant messages market until the emergence of new and more advanced competitors. More than 1000 attempts were made to imitate the company’s software. Among those succeeding are Skype, WhatsApp, WeChat and others. From this perspective, the software contributed to the development of an entire industry without which we cannot now imagine the internet.
In the picture: Miribalis employees with Steve Case, CEO of AOL, following the company’s acquisition