International Business Machines
, or IBM
, nicknamed "Big Blue", is a multinational computer technology and IT consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York
, United States. IBM originated from the bringing together of several companies that worked to automate routine business transactions. In 1911 the company that leased Unit record equipment
, especially Hollerith punched cards
and card readers to government bureaus and insurance agencies, became the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company
(CTR). Thomas J. Watson
(1874-1956) took over in 1924, using the name "International Business Machines." IBM expanded into electric typewriters and other office machines. Watson was a salesman and concentrated on building a highly motivated, very well paid sales force that could craft solutions for clients unfamiliar with the latest technology. His motto was "THINK"; customers were advised to not "fold, spindle or mutilate" the delicate cardboard cards. IBM's first experiments with computers in the 1940s and 1950s were modest advances on the card-based system. Its great breakthrough came in the 1960s with its Model 360 mainframe. IBM offered a full range of hardware, software and service agreements, so that users as their needs grew would stay with "Big Blue." Since most software was custom-written by in-house programmers, and would run on only one brand of computers, it was too expensive to switch brands. Brushing off clone makers, and facing down a federal anti-trust suit, the giant sold reputation and security as well as hardware, and was the most admired American corporation of the 1970s and 1980s.
The late 1980s and early 1990s were cruel to IBM—losses in 1993 exceeded $8 billion—as the mainframe giant failed to adjust quickly enough to the personal computer revolution. Desktop machines had the power needed, and were vastly easier for both users and managers than multimillion-dollar mainframes. IBM did introduce a popular line of microcomputers—but it was too popular. Clone makers undersold IBM, while the profits went to chip makers like Intel
or software houses like Microsoft
. After a series of reorganizations IBM has become one of the world's largest computer companies and systems integrators. With over 400,000 employees worldwide as of 2014, IBM holds more patents than any other U.S. based technology company and has twelve research laboratories worldwide. The company has scientists, engineers, consultants, and sales professionals in over 175 countries. IBM employees have earned five Nobel Prizes
, four Turing Awards
, five National Medals of Technology
, and five National Medals of Science
. Read more...