Internet
Fact-checked

At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

Why Isn’t Sir Tim Berners-Lee a Billionaire?

Despite inventing the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee chose not to patent his creation, prioritizing universal access over personal profit. His vision was a free and open internet, not a commercialized one. This selfless act shaped the digital world we know today. How might the web have looked if he'd decided otherwise? Join the conversation and share your thoughts.

Think the person who came up with the idea for the World Wide Web is living large these days? Well, Sir Tim Berners-Lee is doing all right, but from the very beginning he knew that if he tried to charge users a fee for going online, the idea just wouldn’t have worked. His particular genius centered around the core communication protocols needed for transmitting webpages – the HTTP, or hypertext transfer protocol, and the language used to create them, HTML.

Berners-Lee used concepts well-known since the 1960s, blending them into what became the World Wide Web in 1989 while he was working at CERN nuclear research lab. Today, rather than becoming a tech billionaire, he dedicates his time to enhancing and protecting the future of the web as director of the World Wide Web Consortium.

The unassuming genius of Sir Tim Berners-Lee:

  • The modest Berners-Lee says, "I was just taking lots of things that already existed and added a little little bit. The really exciting thing about it is that it was done by lots and lots of people, connected with this tremendous spirit."

  • Berners-Lee did receive a $1.2 million cash prize in 2004 after winning the first Millennium Technology Prize. In addition, Berners-Lee, originally from Britain, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and named to Time magazine’s "100 Most Important People of the 20th Century."

  • His recent work is the Semantic Web, a project that aims to standardize how information is stored on the Internet, bringing order to the mishmash of data now found on the web.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, never patented or profited from his invention, wanting to make it free for all to use.
      By: Web Summit
      Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, never patented or profited from his invention, wanting to make it free for all to use.