The roots of the glorious company originate back in 1896. A few decades before the appearance of the first computers engineer and statistician Herman Hollerith created a company that produces counting and analytical machines. The new company was named TMC. A descendant of German immigrants, proud of his origin, decided to develop his calculating and analytical machines.
The essence of the invention lay in the fact that an electric switch was invented, which also coded with the help of numbers any data. And they carried map information, on which holes were made in a special order. This made it possible to sort the punch cards automatically. His development Herman Hollerith patented in 1889, and she became a real sensation. The 39-year-old inventor even received an order for the delivery of his cars to the US Department of Statistics, especially for the 1890 census.
The success of the computer exceeded all expectations – in just one year all the data was processed, whereas during the last census it took 8 years. So in practice it was proved that computers can solve such problems much more effectively a person. The received income, as well as the established connections and helped Hollerith create his company soon. Initially, the business was built on the release of commercial vehicles. However, in preparation for the 1900 census, the main emphasis was again shifted to computer-analytical machines. But three years later, cooperation with the state was over and Hollerita had to return to commercial development.
The company was booming, but the health of its founder left much to be desired. In 1911, he accepted the offer of the millionaire Charles Flint to sell his offspring. For TMC Hollerith received 1.2 million dollars, while it was not even so much about buying shares, but about merging with other similar companies – ITRC and CSC. As a result, the company CTR (Computing Tabulating Recording) appeared, which became the progenitor of modern IBM. If Hollerith is called the grandfather of the “blue” company, then Charles Flint is her father.
The new owner of the company was a financial genius, he concluded many corporate unions that survived even him. For this Flint was even called the “father of trusts,” but this role in terms of the impact is still not very unambiguous. But the state appreciated the abilities of a millionaire, inviting him to where the work of officials could not be successfully accomplished. It is believed that it was Flint who participated in a secret project to acquire ships around the world, so that during the Spanish-American War of 1898 they appeared in the form of military men.
A corporation CTR in 1911 produced a lot of universal equipment. These are the time recording systems, automatic meat cutters, weights and the card-punching equipment important for computers. In 1914, Thomas Watson became general secretary of the company, and the following year he already headed the CTR, becoming its President. The next important milestone in the history of the company was its renaming to International Business Machines Co., Limited or simply IBM. First, under this name, the concern came to Canada, emphasizing its international status. And since 1924, so began to be called and the American unit.
For the next quarter of a century the company has lived relatively quietly, even the Great Depression did not particularly affect IBM – the employees were practically not dismissed. But even in this period, several important events can be noted. So, in 1928 a new type of punch card with 80 columns appeared. It was called an IBM Card, and for the next several decades it was used in the company’s computers, and then in computers.
Another important event was a large government order for processing data on 26 million jobs. “The Blue Giant” thanks to that work has gained the favor of the authorities, as its predecessor, TMS once was. At that time, IBM began to pay special attention to corporate culture, conduct training.Employees began to learn that the client – the main thing, we must follow his requests. Then the dress code of the company was formed. At IBM, everyone wore costumes, unshaven employees just did not meet.
The ambiguous page of the company’s history is its cooperation with the Nazis. IBM really sold the equipment to the Third Reich, refusing to participate in its further use. In 1933, IBM even opened a factory in Germany. But after the war the cars of the company helped to find many people. Many victims of the war and the Holocaust demanded an apology from IBM, which the company refused. As a result, the management withdrew from itself any responsibility for what was happening on the territory of Germany during the Second World War. In addition, during this period IBM worked much more closely with the US government and not only on the direct nature of its activities.
So, at the production facilities of the “computer” company they produced rifles, sights, spare parts. Thomas Watson, the head of the company, set a nominal profit of just 1% for this product, sending it eventually to the Widows and Orphans Fund. Counting machines, located in the US, did not stand idly by. They considered military tasks – logistics, calculations, also participated in the Manhattan project in the creation of nuclear weapons.
In 1943, the light saw the computer “Mark I”, weighing as much as 4.5 tons. In the same year, Thomas Watson said that it is unlikely that there will ever be more than five computers in the world. Nevertheless, it was in this direction that the head of the company saw the future of IBM. In 1948, the world saw a new machine – SSEC consisted of 21,400 relays and 12,500 vacuum tubes, it could perform several thousand operations per second. In the 1950s, the company received another big order from the government to develop computers for the SAGE system. It allowed to track and intercept the bombers of the alleged enemy. The work was carried out in close cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which at that time was developing the prototype computer.
An important discovery for modern computer technology was the invention in 1956 of the RAMAC 305. It was the forerunner of the modern hard drive. Then it contained only 5 megabytes of information, and weighed 900 kilograms. Innovation consisted in the use of 50 aluminum round and constantly rotating plates, magnetized elements played the role of a carrier of information. So it became possible to provide random access to data, which greatly increased the processing speed. However, the pleasure was not cheap – it cost the device then 50 thousand dollars. In 1959, computers with transistors appeared, which turned out to be so reliable and fast that US air defense was selected to participate in the air defense early warning system.
In 1964, the IBM System / 360 family, the first universal computers, appeared. But the most important was in 1981, when the first personal computer appeared. He worked under the control of the Intel processor, DOS was introduced by Microsoft, there were several applications. Interestingly, the significance of this project by IBM itself was underestimated. Contrary to the principles of intellectual property protection, the company has not patented either DOS or BIOS, and the architecture has been open. As a result, many similar products have appeared in the world. In 1986, IBM ceded the first place in the personal computer market, created once by itself.
In the 1990s, IBM increasingly switched to consulting, today this business brings more than half of the company’s revenues. Other key areas of IBM are hardware manufacturing and software development. Today, the company has moved away from the production of personal computers, maintaining leadership in the creation of servers and high-performance solutions, including supercomputers. IBM Corporation is represented in many countries of the world. In total, it has about 430 thousand employees. 19% of them work in India, and 27% in America itself.Turnover of the “blue giant” is 106 billion dollars, and net profit of about 16 billion.