While Bill Gates and Microsoft were laser-focused on bringing Windows 95 to market in 1994-1995, millionaire entrepreneur and Silicon Graphics co-founder Jim Clark had left that firm and was looking for the next big thing. He found it at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There, a small team had created X Mosaic, one of the first widely used web browsers, a new type of graphical application that combined previous Internet tools like FTP, Gopher, and NNTP with hypertext links, audio, graphics, and video. He recruited a Mosaic developer named Marc Andreessen, who with Clark saw that web browsers would serve the same role for the techie Internet as did GUIs like Windows for PCs.
“Windows had penetrated all the [PC] desktops, the Mac was a huge success, and point-and-click interfaces had become part of everyday life,” Andreessen said of those days. “But to use the Net, you still had to understand Unix. And the current users had little interest in making it easier. In fact, there was a definite element of not wanting to make it easier, of actually wanting to keep the riffraff out.”