Skip to content

Vale Ray Tomlinson

A sad farewell to Ray Tomlinson, the man who created email.

Mr Tomlinson and the other developers of early Internet technologies did amazing work.  They designed robust technologies that are still in use today and have scaled up to vastly greater sizes than anything originally conceived.

We love the story of how he decided on the @ symbol for email.

There was no committee to discuss the matter endlessly, no discussions on a forum, no talk about the law or health and safety considerations, no Twitter storm – none of it.

Ray just looked on his keyboard and decided on the @ symbol — as simple as that.

By comparison, it took Microsoft over six months to confirm the exact look of the Windows key.  Checks had to be made of laws and customs around the globe.  Accessibility rules, conflicts with other trademarks or symbols and on, and on, and on.

Those were the days ….

About this author

Office Watch is the independent source of Microsoft Office news, tips and help since 1996. Don't miss our famous free newsletter.