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Top 10 UK contributions to IT

From computer games to the internet, this small country has given a lot



It’s hard to imagine now, but Apple was once a company that was in massive financial trouble. While the turnaround of the company is largely down to Steve Jobs, one of his key decisions was to make design a key part of all new products. The argument was to make products that weren’t just functional, such as the beige PCs of the time, but to make them beautiful and desirable.

For Jobs to achieve his aim, he needed a designer of some talent: Jonathan Ive. Born in Chingford, London, Ive has been responsible for the design of the majority of Apple’s iconic products including, the iMac, MacBook Air, iPod, iPod touch, iPhone and iPad.

Just one of those products on a designer’s CV would be enough for most people, but to do them all is incredible. By creating desirable products, Apple has managed to turn itself into one of the world’s most valuable companies. It’s also gone from the underdog to the company that everyone else wants to emulate.

Top 10 UK contributions to IT
By creating technology that wasn’t just functional but also incredibly attractive, Jonathan Ive helped revive Apple’s fortunes

2. ARM
Out of all the British IT companies, ARM Holdings plc is, arguably, the most important in today’s world. It’s this Cambridge-based company that designs the processors that are used in the vast majority of mobile phones and tablets, and is so important that even Microsoft has written a version of Windows 8 that will run on ARM architecture.

What’s particularly clever about the company is that it doesn’t actually manufacture processors, but licenses its intellectual property to other companies that then build their own CPUs. Currently, this includes Intel, Samsung, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.

As well as being popular because it licenses its technology, ARM CPUs are noted for their low power consumption. Given the ever-growing number of smartphone and tablet computers, this feature is incredibly important and one that should see the company grow even more.

All of this comes from a company that started life as Acorn Computers Ltd, manufacturing the popular BBC Micro, as well as Archimedes range of computers. It helped kick-start the home computer revolution back then and is continuing to drive innovation and a new set of products in the mobile market today, making it the most important British computer company today.

ARM is responsible for the vast majority of smartphone and tablet CPUs, making it incredibly important


Although the internet, an interconnected network of computers, came out of the US military, the graphical world wide web, which we access through a web browser was created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
Working at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), he built a system called ENQUIRE in 1980, which was a personal database of people and software models. Each page in ENQUIRE was linked to another page via hypertext.

In 1984, he wrote a proposal for “a large hypertext database with typed links”, which generated very little interest. Instead, he sat down and developed himself the World Wide Web, developing the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the HyperText Markup Language (HTML) the first web browser, the first web server software, the first web server and the first webpages.

On the 6th August 1991, he posted a short summary of the World Wide Web project online and the web was officially made public. The rest, as they say, is history and the world has never been the same.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Can you imagine a world without the web? Thanks to Sir Tim Berners-Lee you don’t have to

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