Yair Goldfinger, Arik Vardi, Sefi Vigiser, Amnon Amir, 1996

ICQ was the first free Internet-wide instant messaging service. Yair Goldfinger, Arik Vardi, Sefi Vigiser and Amnon Amir, four young programmers at the Israeli company Mirabilis wrote the program in less than two months without a budget. The first version was released in November 1996 and it soon revolutionized communication. Later ICQ became the basis for most instant messaging platforms. America Online (AOL) bought ICQ for $407 million in 1998. ICQ, shorthand for ‘I seek you’, is also an adaptation of the Morse code “CQ call”, which stands for ‘calling any station’.