E-Commerce: A Brief Historical and Conceptual Approach

E-Commerce: A Brief Historical and Conceptual Approach

Daniela Meira (University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal), Luís Magalhães (INESC TEC, Portugal & University of Minho, Portugal), Francisco Pereira (University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal) and Emanuel Peres (INESC TEC, Portugal & University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2599-8.ch004
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Despite being a recent phenomenon and being in constant evolution, e-commerce (EC) is already embedded in current society. However, difficulties in establishing a universally accepted definition have resulted in a multiplicity of meanings that sometimes merge with the e-business (EB) concept. This article presents a brief historical and conceptual evolution of EC and some of its most significant aspects.
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To establish the exact moment of EC’s birth is a complex task since there were several precursors, at least since the late 1970s. The introduction of Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) between banks through safe private networks restructured financial markets (Kalakota and Whinston, 1997) and the development of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standards enabled companies to exchange commercial documents and transactions between themselves also across private networks. However, it was the emergence of the Internet - which was not used by any of the precursors - that determined our current understanding of EC, so it can be considered that it began in 1995 following the sale of advertising space on the Internet by Netscape and Infoseek (Laudon and Traver, 2009).

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