The earliest form of asynchronous remote scripting, Microsoft's Remote Scripting, was developed before XMLHttpRequest existed, and made use of a dedicated Java applet.
Like DHTML, LAMP, or SPA, Ajax is not a technology in itself, but a term that refers to the use of a group of technologies together. In fact, derivative/composite technologies based substantially upon Ajax, such as AFLAX, are already appearing.
Traditional web applications essentially submit forms, completed by a user, to a web server. The web server responds by sending a new web page back. Because the server must submit a new page each time, applications run more slowly and awkwardly than their native counterparts.