In recent years the idea that historical trajectories condition the pace of technical change has been gaining ground but has so far received little empirical backing. Using an original survey, we analyse the adoption of Internet-enabled personal computers (IEPCs) by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greece. Results indicate that, among other factors, previous experiences with earlier forms of the technology explain current trends. Having shown the dramatic effect of past adoption events in future decisions, the authors call for a policy that specifically targets and caters for historical non-adopters. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.