IBM Company History Timeline


In 1911, C-T-R had US$800,000 in net income.


In 1912, along with John Patterson, his former employer at NCR, Watson was convicted of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act on behalf of the company.


The founder hired Thomas Watson, Sr. in 1914 and shortly thereafter became president.


Watson never admitted any wrongdoing, and in 1915 the government dropped its case against NCR after the company became famous for its help during a catastrophic flood in its hometown of Dayton, Ohio.


The Endicott, NY, toolmakers group, circa 1917.


1920: CTR introduces the first complete school time control system, the lock autograph recorder.

The methods were successful, and by 1920, the company had tripled its revenues to $15.9 million.


Evelyn Granville, née Evelyn Boyd, (born May 1, 1924, Washington, D.C., United States), American mathematician who was one of the first African American women to receive a doctoral degree in mathematics.


Model time clocks in ITR service office, 1925.


Employees punching in on ITR dial recorders, 1926.


In 1928, for example, its profit of $5.3 million was nearly as great as that of giant Remington Rand, though the latter more than tripled IBM's sales of $19.7 million.


In 1933 IBM purchased Electromatic Typewriters, Inc., and thereby entered the field of electric typewriters, in which it eventually became an industry leader.


In 1935, at the same time the Justice Department was pursuing its case against IBM, the newly formed Social Security Administration placed an order with the company for more than 400 accounting machines and 1,200 keypunchers.

1935: The United States adopts Social Security and IBM's punched card machines to help with the massive record keeping required to keep tabs on tens of millions of Americans.

New Deal programs, such as the Social Security Act of 1935, required businesses and government alike to keep more records, thus increasing the demand for IBM's punched-card tabulating systems.


In 1936, after learning that IBM sold nearly 85 percent of all keypunch, tabulating, and accounting equipment in the United States, the Supreme Court ordered IBM to release its customers from all such card restrictions.

By 1936, IBM held 85 percent of the office machine market, with sales of $26 million.


In 1937, IBM's tabulating equipment enabled organizations to process huge amounts of data.


In 1939, IBM's profit of $9.1 million exceeded that of the next four companies combined, and held an impressive 23 percent of sales.

1939: International Business Machines sponsors art at the 1939 World's Fair.


By 1940, IBM had revenues of $46 million and a workforce of nearly 13,000 employees.


1944: IBM co-develops its first computer, the Automated Sequence Controlled Calculator aka Mark I, with Harvard University.

1944: IBM completes the Automatic Sequenced Control Calculator, also called the Mark I; it is the first machine to automatically complete long computations.


Only a handful of scientists continued refining the advances won by ENIAC, eventually creating a more saleable machine called UNIVAC around 1948.

In 1948, IBM installed one of its first computers, a-buzz with thousands of neon lamps, relays, switches, tape readers, and punches on the ground floor of its New York headquarters for passersby to gawk at through a window.


In 1949 World Trade had sales of only $6.3 million but operated in 58 countries.

1949: Company introduces the 604 Electronic Calculating Punch, the first IBM product designed specifically for computation centers.

In 1949, Thomas Watson, Sr., created IBM World Trade Corporation, a subsidiary of IBM focused on foreign operations.


When IBM's old rival, Remington Rand, began to market UNIVAC in 1951, it took a significant lead in the new computer business.


By the time he became president in 1952, he had won the power struggle with his father and led IBM into an immense research program designed to surpass Rand.

In 1952, he stepped down after almost 40 years at the company helm, and his son Thomas Watson, Jr. was named president.

IBM built the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, an electromechanical computer, during World War II. It offered its first commercial stored-program computer, the vacuum tube based IBM 701, in 1952.


There she became interested in the new field of computer programming, which led her to the corporation International Business Machines (IBM) in 1956.

The IBM 305 RAMAC introduced the hard disk drive in 1956.

In 1956, the company demonstrated the first practical example of artificial intelligence when Arthur L. Samuel of IBM's Poughkeepsie, New York, laboratory programmed an IBM 704 not merely to play checkers but "learn" from its own experience.


In 1957 she joined IBM’s Vanguard Computing Center in Washington, D.C., where she wrote computer programs that tracked orbits for the uncrewed Vanguard satellite and the crewed Mercury spacecraft.

IBM created FORTRAN in 1957, the world's first widely accepted computer language.

1957: Company introduces the IBM 305 Random Access Method of Accounting and Control (RAMAC), the first computer disk storage system.

In 1957, the FORTRAN scientific programming language was developed.


In 1958 Sperry Rand and Control Data brought out the first second generation computers, which used transistors instead of vacuum tubes.

The company switched to transistorized designs with the 7000 and 1400 series, beginning in 1958.


By 1960, there were 5,000 computers in the United States, most of them made by IBM, whose annual revenues had ballooned to $1.6 billion.


In 1961, IBM developed the SABRE reservation system for American Airlines and introduced the highly successful Selectric typewriter.


In 1962 she joined the aerospace firm North American Aviation, where she worked on celestial mechanics and trajectory calculations for the Apollo project.


On April 7, 1964, IBM launched the first computer system family, the IBM System/360.

In 1964, it implemented the largest civilian computerization task ever undertaken, the revolutionary SABRE reservation system used by American Airlines, and proceeded to implement similar systems for the other major airlines.


1965: IBM introduces the System/360, the first large grouping of computers to use interchangeable software.


Control Data filed yet another antitrust suit in 1968, charging that IBM had sold "phantom" computers to its customers to keep them from placing orders for superior CDC products.

1968: Charles and Ray Eames put out "Powers of 10", a film about "the effect of adding another zero." Fundamentally about scale, it arrived on the scene at the tail end of the post-war boom, a period in which American industry basically did add another zero, growing and globalizing.


An IBM engineer by the name of Forrest Parry developed the modern magnetic striped card in 1969 and IBM developed a system to read such cards over the next few years, as well as modified bar code functionality.

In 1969, the government began a 13-year, ultimately unsuccessful, anti-trust case against the accused monopolist.

Rodgers, William H. Think; A Biography of the Watsons and IBM. New York, Stein and Day, 1969.


In 1971 Tom Watson retired from IBM after suffering a heart attack.


1973: Company sells a laser device to supermarkets, which is used to automatically read product prices at checkout stands; company introduces the IBM 3614 Consumer Transaction Facility, an early form of the Automatic Teller Machine.

In 1973, IBM created and implemented the ubiquitous Universal Product Code and bar code systems used in supermarkets.


In 1974, IBM engineer George J. Laurer developed the Universal Product Code.


In 1975, IBM pulled the plug on its five-year Future Systems development project for the next generation of mainframe computers, effectively wasting over $100 million and many millions of staff hours.


IBM failed to join this race until 1980, at which late date it was unable to dominate the market, as it did mainframes and minicomputers.

1980: Microsoft and IBM sign a deal to put the former's operating system on IBM computers.


The IBM PC, originally designated IBM 5150, was introduced in 1981, and it soon became an industry standard.


Said Barron's, "just about everyone and his dog owns IBM." Watson, Jr. was labeled by Fortune Magazine, "the greatest capitalist in history." IBM was highlighted in the 1982 business book In Search of Excellence.


Said Barron's, "just about everyone and his dog owns IBM." Watson, Jr. was labeled by Fortune Magazine, "the greatest capitalist in history." IBM was highlighted in the 1982 business book In Search of Excellence. It grew to be the most valuable company in the world in 1984, worth $72 billion and earning the largest profit ever to that point, $6.6 billion.


1985: John F. Akers takes over as CEO, leading IBM to four Nobel Prizes in physics.


The dip in revenues could be explained as part of the severe 1990-91 recession that took its toll on the entire computer industry, but clearly IBM was no longer the juggernaut it had been during most of its history.


1991: The company's board approves a new strategy for IBM. The corporation that was famous for business machines set out to become "a world-class services company." At the time, IBM made $6 billion from business services.


By 1995 it surpassed Electronic Data Systems (EDS) to become the largest computer services business in the world.

In 1995 IBM purchased Lotus Development Corporation, a major software manufacturer.


1996: Microsoft's market value passes IBM's market value, as personal computing explodes, largely led by IBM's competitors like Dell and Compaq running Microsoft Windows.


The company's image got a boost in 1997 when its computer Deep Blue won a six-game chess match against World Class Champion Garry Kasparov.

1997: IBM Deep Blue beats Garry Kasparaov, marking the first time a computer had defeated a reigning world champion in a traditional match.


Services accounted for 29 percent of IBM's revenues in 1998 and 39 percent of pretax profits.


Also in 1999, IBM acquired two new technology companies--Sequence Computer Systems and Whistle Communications--and signed contracts exceeding $15 billion with several other technology companies: Dell Computer Corporation, Acer Incorporated, Cisco Systems, Inc., and Nintendo Company, Ltd.


By 2000, the company made $33 billion a year in services revenue.


In 2001 the financial situation for IBM turned gloomy, as the company lost nearly $3 billion in overall revenue, decreasing net income from $8 billion to $7.7 billion.

Developed over a four-year period beginning in 2001, this advanced computer chip has multiple applications, from supercomputers to Toshiba high-definition televisions to the Sony Playstation 3 electronic game system.


In addition, gross profits rose almost $3 billion from 2002.

In 2002 IBM acquired PwC consulting.


The year 2003 also witnessed further innovation at IBM, including the introduction of the world's most advanced server, the eServer z Series 990; the eServer p690 system, offering 65 percent more speed than its predecessor; and two new high-end iSeries servers: iSeries 825 and 870.


One such product, introduced in 2004, was the IBM eServer Blade Center HS40, the most powerful and flexible (and smallest) 4-way blade server available.


2005: Lenovo purchases IBM's personal computing division, completing IBM's transition into a services company and away from selling directly to consumers.


In 2010, IBM made $56 billion from business and technology services.

In addition to cash, securities, and debt restructuring, IBM acquired an 18.9 percent stake in Lenovo, which acquired the right to market its personal computers under the IBM label through 2010.


In 2011, IBM gained worldwide attention for its artificial intelligence program Watson, which was exhibited on Jeopardy! where it won against game-show champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.


In 2012 IBM announced it has agreed to buy Kenexa and Texas Memory Systems, and a year later it also acquired SoftLayer Technologies, a web hosting service, in a deal worth around $2 billion.


In 2014, IBM announced it would sell its x86 server division to Lenovo for $2.1 billion.


In 2015, IBM announced three major acquisitions: Merge Healthcare for $1 billion, data storage vendor Cleversafe, and all digital assets from The Weather Company, including and the Weather Channel mobile app.


In April 2016, it posted a 14-year low in quarterly sales.

In 2016, the company launched all-flash arrays designed for small and midsized companies, which includes software for data compression, provisioning, and snapshots across various systems.

In 2016, IBM acquired video conferencing service Ustream and formed a new cloud video unit.


IBM is also a major research organization, holding the record for most United States patents generated by a business (as of 2018) for 25 consecutive years.


IBM announced in October 2020 that it would divest the Managed Infrastructure Services unit of its Global Technology Services division into a new public company.


"IBM (International Business Machines) ." St James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . Retrieved June 22, 2022 from

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