Way before the arrival of mass Internet when France’s Minitel box was used to wire households to networked information, Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs apparently drew some of his inspiration from that table-top box, says a French telecoms engineer (via Reuters). The Minitel box was used by 25 million people in France at the time for services ranging from checking the weather to making travel reservations and posting small ads.
According to the source:
“He bought one and took it to bits to see how it worked,” Gerard Thery, one of the Frenchmen behind the 1982 launch of the Minitel system, told business newspaper Economie Matin.
Two decades of Internet sealed the fate of what once looked like a technological wonder that might conquer the world with a then wide range of shopping and travel booking services, accessible via the dial-up code 3615.
Its famous “Minitel Rose” sex chat lines were blamed for the astronomical phone bills of many unwitting customers.
Minitel was designed by France Telecom as an online directory to save paper until companies like Apple rendered it obsolete.