History of IBM (IT Services - Hardware & Software Company)

History of IBM (IT Services - Hardware & Software Company)

History of IBM (IT Services - Hardware & Software Company)International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM), abbreviated IBM and nicknamed "Big Blue", is a multinational computer technology and IT consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. The company is one of the few information technology companies with a continuous history dating back to the 19th century. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software (with a focus on the latter), and offers infrastructure services, hosting services, and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. Samuel J. Palmisano is the chairman and CEO of IBM.

The roots of IBM date back the 1880s, decades before the development of electronic computers. Since the 1960s or earlier, IBM has described its formation as a merger of three companies: the Tabulating Machine Company (with origins in Washington, D.C. in the 1880s), the International Time Recording Company (founded 1900 in Endicott), and the Computing Scale Corporation (founded 1901 in Dayton, Ohio, USA). The merger was engineered by noted financier Charles Flint, and the new company was called the Computing Tabulating Recording (CTR) Corporation. CTR was incorporated on June 16, 1911 in Endicott, New York, U.S.A.. The 1911 CTR stock prospectus states that four corporations were merged; the three described by IBM, above, and the Bundy Manufacturing Company (founded in 1889). Flint remained a member of the board of CTR until his retirement in 1930.

The companies that merged to form CTR manufactured a wide range of products, including employee time-keeping systems, weighing scales, automatic meat slicers, coffee grinders, and most importantly for the development of the computer, punched card equipment. The product lines were very different; Flint stated that the consolidation.

The original IBM PC (ca. 1981)Of the companies merged to form CTR, the most technologically significant was the Tabulating Machine Company, founded by Herman Hollerith, and specialized in the development of punched card data processing equipment. Hollerith's series of patents on tabulating machine technology, first applied for in 1884, drew on his work at the U.S. Census Bureau from 1879–82. Hollerith was initially trying to reduce the time and complexity needed to tabulate the 1890 Census. His development of punched cards in 1886 set the industry standard for the next 80 years of tabulating and computing data input.

In 1896 the Tabulating Machine Company leased some machines to a railway company but quickly focused on the challenges of the largest statistical endeavor of its day – the 1900 US Census. After winning the government contract, and completing the project with amazing speed, Hollerith was faced with the challenge of sustaining the company in non-Census years. He returned to targeting private businesses both in the United States and abroad, attempting to identify industry applications for his automatic punching, tabulating and sorting machines. In 1911, Hollerith, now 51 and in failing health sold the business to Flint for $2.3 million (of which Hollerith got $1.2 million), who then created CTR. When the diversified businesses of CTR proved difficult to manage, Flint turned for help to the former No. 2 executive at the National Cash Register Company, Thomas J. Watson, Sr.. Watson became General Manager of CTR in 1914 and President in 1915. By drawing upon his managerial experience at NCR, Watson quickly implemented a series of effective business tactics: generous sales incentives, a focus on customer service, an insistence on well-groomed, dark-suited salesmen, and an evangelical fervor for instilling company pride and loyalty in every worker. As the sales force grew into a highly professional and knowledgeable arm of the company, Watson focused their attention on providing large-scale, custom-built tabulating solutions for businesses, leaving the market for small office products to others. He also stressed the importance of the customer, a lasting IBM tenet. The strategy proved successful, as during Watson's first four years, revenues doubled to $2 million, and company operations expanded to Europe, South America, Asia and Australia.

At the helm during this period, Watson played a central role in establishing what would become the IBM organization and culture. He launched a number of initiatives that collectively demonstrated an unwavering faith in his workers: he hired the company's first disabled worker in 1914, he formed the company's first employee education department in 1916, and in 1915 he introduced his favorite slogan, "THINK," which quickly became a corporate mantra. Watson boosted company spirit by encouraging any employee with a complaint to approach him or any other company executive – his famed Open Door policy. He also sponsored employee sports teams, family outings and a company band, believing that employees were most productive when they were supported by healthy and supportive families and communities. These initiatives – each deeply rooted in Watson's personal values system – became core aspects of IBM culture for the remainder of the century.

Given the company's geographic growth (including the completion of three manufacturing facilities in Europe), and his own expansive vision, Watson found the CTR name too limiting,. A name of a publication from CTR's Canadian operation caught his eye, and on February 14, 1924, the CTR name was formally changed to International Business Machines Corporation, later to be abbreviated IBM.
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