IBM (International Business Machines) is an American company headquartered in Armonk, New York, one of the world's largest manufacturers and suppliers of hardware and software, as well as IT services and consulting services.
The company was founded in 1911, and the current name appeared in 1924. Since the mid-1950s, the company has already occupied a leading position in the computer market. In 1981, the first computer was created, and by the mid-80s, IBM controlled about 60% of the world's production of electronic computers. But how did the history of the company begin?
19th century German immigrant Herman Hollerith, working for the Census Bureau, proposes to automate immigration statistics using punched cards. To implement his idea, Herman invents an electric machine for data processing. The sample turned out to be so successful that in 1896 Hollerith founded his own company - Tabulating Machine Co. Soon, Hollerith's tabulators began to be shipped abroad, and Russia was among the customers.
In 1911, thanks to Charles Flint, a merger took place between Hollerith's company and two other firms that specialized in automating the processing of static data. In the same year, on June 15, a conglomerate was created, which was called Computing Tabulating Recording (CTR). The newborn company managed to conquer its sector of the market and after a while there are branches in Detroit, Washington, Toronto and Dayton.
In 1914, Thomas Watson Sr. became the general manager of CTR, whose name is associated with the main achievements of the company in the 1920-1940s. Of Scottish descent, Watson, eleven months after joining CTR, becomes its president. By 1919, the company's turnover increased and reached 2 million dollars. Since the equipment from CTR found markets in Europe, South America, Asia and Australia, in 1924 the company was forced to change its name to a new one - International Business Machines (IBM).
1931 is marked by a whole bunch of achievements: the IBM 400 accounting machines work with alphabetic data, the 600-series calculating machines perform multiplication and division, the first multiplier puncher and the first copy puncher appear.
In 1935, IBM first organized training courses for women to enter technical jobs that had traditionally been reserved for men.
Thomas Watson Sr. insisted on continuing the production of calculating machines during the Great Depression despite the sharp drop in demand. His efforts paid off in 1936 when IBM was brought in to supply the punching machines for "the largest bookkeeping operation of all time" by the US government since the 1935 Social Security Act.
During the years of the Great Depression, only multimillion-dollar incomes helped IBM “keep afloat”. Despite the crisis, company president Thomas Watson Sr. continues to fund research and pay wages to workers. Large orders from the US government in 1935-1936 helped IBM get out of the crisis.
In 1937, Thomas Watson Sr. was elected president of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and spoke at the Berlin meeting in support of "world peace through trade." This slogan was adopted by the ICC and IBM itself. Germany awards Watson with the Order of the German Eagle. In 1940, he returns the order and in doing so infuriates the Nazi government.
Nevertheless, subsequently IBM repeatedly became the object of criticism for doing business in Germany in the 30s. The German subsidiary of IBM, Dehomag, supplied equipment for processing the results of the racial census in Germany in the 1930s. According to its results, Jews, gypsies and half-breeds were registered, subject to destruction.
During the Second World War, the company also produced small arms: M1 Carbine and Browning Automatic Rifle.
In 1944, the first IBM computer was created - the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, or Mark I, weighing about 4.5 tons. This is the first machine capable of performing a series of operations in automatic mode. The computer was based on electromechanical relays.
Already in 1946, the IBM Electronic Multiplier 603 was released - the first commercially available machine on electronic circuits capable of performing arithmetic operations. Its length is more than 15 meters, its height is about 2.5 meters, and its weight is almost 5 tons.
In 1948, IBM released the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator, a large digital computer with electromechanical relays, which for the first time had the ability to modify a stored program.
In 1952, Thomas Watson Jr. becomes president of IBM. It was thanks to him that the IBM 701 was created - the first mass-produced electronic computer - on vacuum tubes. It is equipped with a tape drive; later, tape storage technology would become dominant. The new president of IBM madebet on electronic computers even before they became more economically viable than electromechanical machines. Because of this, IBM dominated the computer market for several decades, that is, the continuation of the mainframe era.
In 1956, a settlement ended an antitrust suit brought by the US government against IBM in 1952, and IBM itself began to adopt a more liberal policy regarding hardware licensing. In May, Tom Watson Jr. takes over as CEO of the corporation, and in June his father dies. The son is reorganizing IBM, laying the concept of linear and functional divisions. This concept will later be adopted by the entire American business.
In 1957, IBM created FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation), which became the main programming language for solving technical problems. Features of the language have become one of the main sources of the Y2K problem. This language is still used today.
In 1959, the first transistorized IBM computers appeared, reaching a level of reliability and speed at which the US Air Force found it possible to use them in an air defense early warning system.
In 1961, the Selectric printing press was released. Its later models will have memory, and they will become the ancestors of modern word processors.
In 1962, IBM and American Airlines deployed SABER, the world's first computer-aided airline ticket reservation system, which kick-started massive efforts in online banking technology.
In 1964, the IBM System / 360 computer appears, which uses solid-state logic microelectronic circuits. For the first time, the concept of a family of computers based on standard technologies is used.
In 1966, Robert Dennard of IBM invents the DRAM cell, which remains the industry standard to this day.
In 1969, an on-board computer and other IBM technologies are used during the first manned flight to the moon. The IBM laboratory has developed a magnetic stripe for credit cards. Without it, even today it is impossible to imagine identification cards, driver's licenses and plastic cards for ATMs.
In 1971, IBM developed the floppy disk (floppy disk or floppy disk), which would later become the standard storage medium for personal computers. In the same year, Thomas Watson Jr. leaves the post of head of IBM. He is replaced by Frank Carey.
In 1972, an updated logo (letters from blue stripes) of the company was introduced, which is still used today. The logo was designed by Paul Rand.
In 1973, supermarkets began using bar coding systems based on the UPC standard proposed by IBM. Today, they track literally everything.
In 1975, the IBM 5100 portable computer was released on the market, which weighs almost 23 kg and costs from 9 to 20 thousand dollars. Do not forget, the first computer from IBM weighed 4500 kg.
In 1981, the IBM PC appears, the most compact and inexpensive ($ 1,565) personal computer at that time. 64 kilobytes of RAM and one or two floppy drives were enough to run the DOS operating system offered by a small company Microsoft, and a number of applications.
It is noteworthy that at first the company's management did not attach any importance to this car: a group of only 4 people was engaged in the development (under the leadership of Philip Donald Estridge). And - most notably - contrary to its strong principles of intellectual property protection, IBM did not patent either DOS (with a BASIC language interpreter) or another revolutionary invention of the developers: the BIOS. As a result, smarter third-party developers used the published specifications to make clones of the IBM PC, and much of this rapidly growing market was lost to IBM.
IBM makes a deal with Microsoft to develop a PC operating system and allows competitors to purchase the system to install on "IBM compatible" clones. As a result, a fast-growing industry is born and its new giants appear - Dell, Compaq, etc.
In 1982, the antitrust lawsuit filed by the US government against IBM back in 1969 was withdrawn. Perhaps this is what spurs IBM to further separate the hardware from the software, leaving customers with even more opportunities to mix products from different companies.
In 1986, IBM scientists receive the Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of the scanning tunneling microscope; demonstrating its capabilities, the researchers were able to manipulate individual atoms, adding letters I-B-M from them.
In the same year, IBM lost first place in sales in its own generated personal computer market.
1987 saw the release of the IBM Personal System/2 (PS/2) and OS/2 operating system, jointly developed by Microsoft and IBM. OS/2 supports multitasking. In just six months, a million PS / 2 units were sold. Head of direction IBM PC James Cannavino wants to keep OS/2 compatible with AT, but Microsoft CEO Bill Gates wants to switch to new computers based on the Intel 80386 processor. use the memory management system built into the 386 processors, it becomes a bestseller. OS/2 is far behind.
In 1990, IBM releases the System/390 family of midrange computers and supercomputers. Within the corporation, the System/390 is considered the largest product development in the last 25 years. New technologies include high-speed optical channels, ultra-dense circuits, etc.
In 1991, Microsoft and PC clone makers are making huge profits, the client-server architecture is beginning to take off, and IBM shocks longtime industry players with an announcement of $2.82 billion in annual losses, the first of a three-year series. At this time, the corporation was managed by John Akers, and management is thinking about how to break IBM into several smaller companies.
In 1993, Louis Gerstner, former CEO of RJR Nabisco, joins IBM and takes over as CEO and Chairman of the Board. At the inaugural press conference, Gerstner says he intends to keep IBM as a single corporation and talks about his determination to turn it into a general IT organization that can serve as both a supplier and systems integrator for customers.
In 1995, IBM acquires Lotus Development Corporation and its collaboration support system. Thus, IBM becomes the world's largest software developer.
That same year, IBM introduces the ThinkPad 701cm laptop, powered by an Intel Pentium processor clocked at 133 MHz. Its elegant black design, which is not typical of IBM products, receives a lot of accolades.
In 1996, IBM releases the database management system (DBMS) DB2 Universal Database, which allows you to store not only alphanumeric data, but also images, audio and video. In the same year, IBM is actively adopting the Internet.
In 1997, IBM "invented" eBusiness, announcing that the Internet was becoming a business tool and ushering in the age of e-commerce.
On May 11, 1997, the IBM RS/6000 SP (Deep Blue) supercomputer won a 6-game match against world chess champion Garry Kasparov. This computer is capable of calculating 200 million chess moves per second.
In 2001, the book "IBM and the Holocaust" was published. The corporation is being sued under the US Foreign Torts Act of 1789, alleging the supply of tabulators to record prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. This claim was later withdrawn. IBM's excuse was that its German subsidiary, along with hundreds of other foreign companies, had come under Nazi control before World War II.
In March 2002, Sam Palmisano became CEO, and in July IBM announced that it would further expand its services business by buying PricewaterhouseCoopers' global technology and business consulting division for $3.5 billion. Later, this business merged into the IBM Global Business Services division and became the most profitable in the IBM structure, generating more than half of the company's income.
In late 2003, South Korean prosecutors raided three offices of IBM's South Korean division. Then the employees of the corporation were suspected of giving bribes to local officials for granting exclusive rights to supply computers to the government.
In 2004, IBM had 329,000 employees in 170 countries.
In 2005, despite having sold more than 20 million ThinkPad laptops, IBM announced that it was selling its PC business to China's Lenovo to expand into software and services.
In July 2009, it was announced that IBM was buying the American company SPSS, a developer of business intelligence (BI) systems. The transaction amount is 1.2 billion dollars.
In July 2010, the European Commission announced the launch of two new investigations into IBM and its dominant position in the mainframe market. The first investigation was initiated by T3 Technologies and Turbo Hercules, which develop emulation software. They claim that IBM is forcing its own hardware onto the proprietary ZOS mainframe operating system. This makes it impossible to use emulation technologies to run mainframe applications on cheaper equipment released by third-party vendors.
The second investigation was initiated by the European Commission itself. Regulators suspect that IBM, which, in addition to making servers and software, is engaged in the provision of services for the repair and maintenance of mainframes, hinders the activities of other companies working in this direction. According to some information,The corporation intentionally delays or even blocks the supply of spare parts that no one else produces.
In August 2010, it became known that IBM had agreed to buy business intelligence solutions provider Unica for $480 million. As part of the agreements, the entire staff of Unica, which includes one and a half thousand employees, will be integrated into the IBM Software Solutions Group. With this deal, IBM is able to strengthen its portfolio of solutions that enable more effective marketing campaigns. At the time of purchase, about one and a half thousand clients work with Unica, including players in the financial industry, insurance, telecommunications companies, etc.
On September 27, 2010, IBM announced that it had reached a definitive agreement to acquire BLADE Network Technologies (BLADE), a privately held company based in Santa Clara, California.
In 2011, the company celebrated the centenary of its creation. In the same year, the IBM Watson supercomputer, consisting of 90 IBM Power 750 servers, demonstrates the corporation's achievements in the field of artificial intelligence and system architecture, winning a convincing victory in the American prototype of the game show "Own Game" over two of its multiple champions.
In November 2011, it became known that American investor and billionaire Warren Buffett bought a 5.4% stake in IBM, valued at £7.5 billion.
In 2014, IBM announced a $1 billion investment in the development of the Watson project and the creation of a new division of cognitive computing Watson Business Group, whose tasks include the development and commercialization of cloud-based cognitive (with elements of artificial intelligence) services in such areas as healthcare, finance, travel, telecommunications and retail.
In January 2016, IBM acquired The Weather Company's digital business for approximately $2 billion, which was integrated into the company's Watson platform and other cloud services. And to develop just one cloud-based medical service, Watson Health Cloud, IBM spent over $4 billion on the purchase of IT companies from the healthcare sector, for example, in February 2016, IBM acquired Truven Health Analytics, a company offering management services and services, for $2.6 billion. analysis of medical information to healthcare institutions, government agencies and insurance companies.
In early 2017, an alliance between IBM and Salesforce was formed, under which both companies will jointly promote predictive analytics tools, and the Salesforce Einstein artificial intelligence platform will be connected to the IBM Watson system, which will help to better understand and use the generated analytical information in the field of sales .
In March 2017, IBM Corporation announced the IBM Q project to create the world's first universal quantum computer, access to the resources of which will be provided through the IBM Cloud cloud platform. It is planned that within a few years a universal quantum computing system will be created to fulfill the tasks of developing new drugs, advanced materials, research in the field of artificial intelligence, digital security, logistics and financial services.
In November of the same 2017, IBM scientists successfully built and measured a prototype processor with 50 quantum bits.
At the IBM Think 2018 conference, company representatives presented the smallest computer in the world today. This computer has a size of 1 by 1 millimeter, which is comparable to the size of a grain of table salt. The production cost of one such computer is estimated at less than 10 cents.
In January 2019, at CES, IBM Research announced the world's first quantum system, IBM Q System One, consisting of 20 qubits and suitable for commercial use.