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International Business Machines , abbreviated IBM, is a multinational computer, technology and IT consulting corporation headquartered in Armonkmarker, Town of North Castlemarker, 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. It has been nicknamed "Big Blue" for its official corporate color.

IBM has been well known through most of its recent history as the world's largest computer company and systems integrator. With over 398,455 employees worldwide, IBM is the largest and most profitable information technology employer in the world.IBM holds more patents than any other U.S. based technology company and has eight research laboratories worldwide. The company has scientists, engineers, consultants, and sales professionals in over 170 countries. IBM employees have earned five Nobel Prizes, four Turing Awards, nine National Medals of Technology, and five National Medals of Science. As a chip maker, IBM has been among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders in past years.


The company which became IBM was founded in 1896 as the Tabulating Machine Company by Herman Hollerith, in Broome County, New Yorkmarker (Endicott, New Yorkmarker or Binghamton, New Yorkmarker), where it still maintains very limited operations. It was incorporated as Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation on June 16, 1911, and was listed on the New York Stock Exchangemarker in 1916 by George Winthrop Fairchild. CTR's Canadian and later South American subsidiary was named International Business Machines in 1917, and the whole company took this name in 1924 when Thomas J. Watson took control of it.

Selected current projects


developerWorks is a website run by IBM for software developers and IT professionals. It contains a small number of how-to articles and tutorials, as well as software downloads and code samples, discussion forums, podcasts, blogs, wikis, and other resources for developers and technical professionals. Subjects range from open, industry-standard technologies like Java, Linux, SOA and web services, web development, Ajax, PHP, and XML to IBM's products (WebSphere, Rational, Lotus, Tivoli and DB2). In 2007 developerWorks was inducted into the Jolt Hall of Fame.


alphaWorks is IBM's source for emerging software technologies. These technologies include:
  • Flexible Internet Evaluation Report Architecture – A highly flexible architecture for the design, display, and reporting of Internet surveys.
  • IBM History Flow Visualization Application – A tool for visualizing dynamic, evolving documents and the interactions of multiple collaborating authors.
  • IBM Linux on POWER Performance Simulator – A tool that provides users of Linux on Power a set of performance models for IBM's POWER processors.
  • Database File Archive And Restoration Management – An application for archiving and restoring hard disk drive files using file references stored in a database.
  • Policy Management for Autonomic Computing – A policy-based autonomic management infrastructure that simplifies the automation of IT and business processes.
  • FairUCE – A spam filter that verifies sender identity instead of filtering content.
  • Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) SDK – A Java SDK that supports the implementation, composition, and deployment of applications working with unstructured data.
  • Accessibility Browser – A web-browser specifically designed to assist people with visual impairments, to be released as open source software. Also known as the "A-Browser," the technology will aim to eliminate the need for a mouse, relying instead completely on voice-controls, buttons and predefined shortcut keys.

Semiconductor design and manufacturing

Virtually all console gaming systems of the latest generation use microprocessors developed by IBM. The Xbox 360 contains a PowerPC tri-core processor, which was designed and produced by IBM in less than 24 months. Sony's PlayStation 3 features the Cell BE microprocessor designed jointly by IBM, Toshiba, and Sony. Nintendo's seventh-generation console, Wii, features an IBM chip codenamed Broadway. The older Nintendo GameCube utilizes the Gekko processor, also designed by IBM.

In May 2002, IBM and, Inc. announced the Butterfly Grid, a commercial grid for the online video gaming market. In March 2006, IBM announced separate agreements with Hoplon Infotainment, Online Game Services Incorporated (OGSI), and RenderRocket to provide on-demand content management and blade server computing resources.

Open Client Offering

IBM announced it will launch its new software, called "Open Client Offering" which is to run on Linux, Microsoft Windows and Apple's Mac OS X. The company states that its new product allows businesses to offer employees a choice of using the same software on Windows and its alternatives. This means that "Open Client Offering" is to cut costs of managing whether Linux or Apple relative to Windows. There will be no necessity for companies to pay Microsoft for its licenses for operations since the operations will no longer rely on software which is Windows-based. One alternative to Microsoft's office document formats is the Open Document Format software, whose development IBM supports. It is going to be used for several tasks like: word processing, presentations, along with collaboration with Lotus Notes, instant messaging and blog tools as well as an Internet Explorer competitor – the Mozilla Firefox web browser. IBM plans to install Open Client on 5% of its desktop PCs.

UC2: Unified Communications and Collaboration

UC2 (Unified Communications and Collaboration) is an IBM and Cisco Systems joint project based on Eclipse and OSGi. It will offer the numerous Eclipse application developers a unified platform for an easier work environment.

The software based on UC2 platform will provide major enterprises with easy-to-use communication solutions, such as the Lotus based Sametime. In the future the Sametime users will benefit from such additional functions as click-to-call and voice mailing.

Internal programs

Extreme Blue is a company initiative that uses experienced IBM engineers, talented interns, and business managers to develop high-value technology. The project is designed to analyze emerging business needs and the technologies that can solve them. These projects mostly involve rapid-prototyping of high-profile software and hardware projects. Extreme Blue web page

In May 2007, IBM unveiled Project Big Green, a re-direction of $1 billion per year across its businesses to increase energy efficiency.

On November 2008, IBM’s CEO, Sam Palmisano, during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, outlined a new agenda for building a Smarter Planet. In addition, an official company blog exists. Smarter Planet @ IBM

Environmental record

IBM has a long history in dealing with environmental problems. It established a corporate policy on environmental protection in 1971, with the support of a comprehensive global environmental management system. According to IBM, its total hazardous waste decreased by 44% over the past five years, and has decreased by 94.6% since 1987. IBM's total hazardous waste calculation consists of waste from both non-manufacturing and manufacturing operations. Waste from manufacturing operations includes waste recycled in closed-loop systems where process chemicals are recovered for subsequent reuse, rather than just disposing of them and using new chemical materials. Over the years, IBM has redesigned processes to eliminate almost all closed loop recycling and now uses more environmental-friendly materials in their place. IBM has also now built a modelling solution to help protect the environment and reduce its own Carbon Footprint using Lean and Six Sigma principles Green Sigma

IBM was recognized as one of the "Top 20 Best Workplaces for Commuters" by the United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ (EPA) in 2005. The award was to recognize Fortune 500 companies which provided employees with excellent commuter benefits to help reduce traffic and air pollution.

The birthplace of IBM, Endicottmarker, suffered pollution for decades, however. IBM used liquid cleaning agents in circuit board assembly operation for more than two decades, and six spills and leaks were recorded, including one leak in 1979 of 4,100 gallons from an underground tank. These left behind volatile organic compounds in the town's soil and aquifer. Trace elements of volatile organic compounds have been identified in Endicott’s drinking water, but the levels are within regulatory limits. Also, from 1980, IBM has pumped out 78,000 gallons of chemicals, including trichloroethane, freon, benzene and perchloroethene to the air and allegedly caused several cancer cases among the villagers. IBM Endicott has been identified by the Department of Environmental Conservation as the major source of pollution, though traces of contaminants from a local dry cleaner and other polluters were also found. Despite the amount of pollutant, state health officials could not verify whether air or water pollution in Endicott has actually caused any health problems. According to village officials, tests show that the water is safe to drink.

Solar power

Tokyo Ohkla industrial area Kogyo Co., Ltd. (TOK) and IBM are collaborating to establish new, low-cost methods for bringing the next generation of solar energy products, called CIGS (Copper-Indium-Gallium-Selenide) solar cell modules, to market. Use of thin film technology, such as CIGS, has great promise in reducing the overall cost of solar cells and further enabling their widespread adoption.

IBM is exploring four main areas of photovoltaic research: using current technologies to develop cheaper and more efficient silicon solar cells, developing new solution processed thin film photovoltaic devices, concentrator photovoltaics, and future generation photovoltaic architectures based upon nanostructures such as semiconductor quantum dots and nanowires.

Green Sigma

Green Sigma is an Active Management Six Sigma system which is currently being developed and enhanced through the Innovation Centre in Dublin. Its goal is to Manage & Reduce Carbon Footprint whilst achieving associated economic and environmental benefits.

Green Sigma is focused around the elements of:
  • Carbon
  • Water
  • Atmospheric Emissions
  • Liquid Waste
  • Solid Waste
  • Ground Emissions
  • Reporting

IBM Green SigmaTM consultants work with the client team to establish ongoing optimisation of core processes and KPMGs.

  • Phase I: Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Phase II: Establish Metering
  • Phase III: Deploy Carbon Console
  • Phase IV: Optimise Processes
  • Phase V: Control Performance

IBM’s goal with the Green SigmaTM offering is to partner with clients to drive innovation, achieving economic benefits for the business and reducing impact to the environment.

Corporate culture

1970s IBM System/3 with characteristic blue hardware
Big Blue is a nickname for IBM. There are several theories explaining the origin of the name. One theory, substantiated by people who worked for IBM at the time, is that IBM field representatives coined the term in the 1960s, referring to the color of the mainframes IBM installed in the 1960s and early 1970s. "All blue" was a term used to describe a loyal IBM customer, and business writers later picked up the term. Another theory suggests that Big Blue simply refers to the Company's logo. A third theory suggests that Big Blue refers to a former company dress code that required many IBM employees to wear only white shirts and many wore blue suits. In any event, IBM keyboards, typewriters, and some other manufactured devices, have played on the "Big Blue" concept, using the color for enter keys and carriage returns.


IBM has often been described as having a sales-centric or sales-oriented business culture. Traditionally, many IBM executives and general managers are chosen from the sales force. The current CEO, Samuel J. Palmisano, for example, joined the company as a salesman and, unusual for CEOs of major corporations, has no MBA or post-graduate qualification. Middle and top management are often enlisted to give direct support to salespeople when pitching sales to important customers.

The uniform

A dark (or gray) suit, white shirt, and a "sincere" tie was the public uniform for IBM employees for most of the 20th century. During IBM's management transformation in the 1990s, CEO Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. relaxed these codes, normalizing the dress and behavior of IBM employees to resemble their counterparts in other large technology companies.

IBM company values and "Jam"

In 2003, IBM embarked on an ambitious project to rewrite company values. Using its Jam technology, the company hosted Internet-based online discussions on key business issues with 50,000 employees over 3 days. The discussions were analyzed by sophisticated text analysis software (eClassifier) to mine online comments for themes. As a result of the 2003 Jam, the company values were updated to reflect three modern business, marketplace and employee views: "Dedication to every client's success", "Innovation that matters - for our company and for the world", "Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships".

In 2004, another Jam was conducted during which 52,000 employees exchanged best practices for 72 hours. They focused on finding actionable ideas to support implementation of the values previously identified. A new post-Jam Ratings event was developed to allow IBMers to select key ideas that support the values. The board of directors cited this Jam when awarding Palmisano a pay rise in the spring of 2005.

IBM launched another jam session called InnovationJam 2008. This jam began on October 5 at 6:00 p.m. US EDT and continued for 72 hours through October 8. Unlike past jams, Innovation Jam 2008 involved wide participation from hundreds of IBM's clients, business partners and academics from around the world as well as thousands of IBM's own employees.

Open source

IBM has been a leading proponent of the Open Source Initiative, and began supporting Linux in 1998. The company invests billions of dollars in services and software based on Linux through the IBM Linux Technology Center, which includes over 300 Linux kernel developers. IBM has also released code under different open source licenses, such as the platform-independent software framework Eclipse (worth approximately US$40 million at the time of the donation), the three-sentence International Components for Unicode (ICU) license, and the Java-based relational database management system (RDBMS) Apache Derby. IBM's open source involvement has not been trouble-free, however (see SCO v. IBM).

Corporate affairs

Support to Nazi Germany

During the Holocaust, IBM's New York headquarters and CEO Thomas J. Watson acted through its overseas subsidiaries to provide the Third Reich with punch card machines that could help the Nazis track down the European Jewry (especially in newly conquered territory). The book IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black quotes extensively from numerous IBM and government memos and letters that describe how New York-based IBM, its Geneva office and its German subsidiary, Dehomag, were intimately involved in supporting Nazi oppression. The book also includes IBM's internal reports that admit that these machines made the Nazi's efforts much more efficient.

Diversity in the Workforce

IBM's efforts to promote workforce diversity and equal opportunity date back at least to World War I, when the company hired disabled veterans. IBM was the only technology company ranked in Working Mother magazine's Top 10 for 2004, and one of two technology companies in 2005 (the other company being Hewlett-Packard).

On September 21, 1953, Thomas J. Watson, the CEO at the time, sent out a controversial letter to all IBM employees stating that IBM needed to hire the best people, regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or gender. In 1984, IBM added sexual preference. He stated that this would give IBM a competitive advantage because IBM would then be able to hire talented people its competitors would turn down.

The company has traditionally resisted labor union organizing, although unions represent some IBM workers outside the United States.

In 2009 following the announcement in the UK of pension cuts that left many employees facing a shortfall in projected pensions, several hundred employees joined the Unite union.

In the 1990s, two major pension program changes, including a conversion to a cash balance plan, resulted in an employee class action lawsuit alleging age discrimination. IBM employees won the lawsuit and arrived at a partial settlement, although appeals are still underway. IBM also settled a major overtime class-action lawsuit in 2006.

Historically, IBM has had a good reputation of long-term staff retention with few large scale layoffs. Recently, there have been a number of broad cuts to the workforce as IBM attempts to adapt to changing market conditions and declining profits. After posting weaker than expected revenues in the first quarter of 2005, IBM eliminated 14,500 positions, predominantly in Europe. In May 2005, IBM Ireland announced that the MD (Micro-electronics Division) facility was closing down by the end of the year and offered a settlement to staff. However, all staff that wished to stay with the Company were redeployed within IBM Ireland. The production moved to a company called Amkor in Singapore who purchased IBM's Microelectronics business in Singapore and is widely agreed that IBM promised this Company a full load capacity in return for the purchase of the facility. On June 8, 2005, IBM Canada Ltd. eliminated approximately 700 positions. IBM projects the moves as part of a strategy to "rebalance" its portfolio of professional skills and businesses. IBM India and other IBM offices in China, the Philippines and Costa Rica have been witnessing a recruitment boom and steady growth in number of employees due to lower wages.

On October 10, 2005, IBM became the first major company in the world to formally commit to not using genetic information in employment decisions. The announcement came just a few months after IBM stated its support of the National Geographic Societymarker's Genographic Project.

Gay Rights

IBM provides same-sex partners of its employees with health benefits and provides an anti-discrimination clause. The Human Rights Campaign has consistently rated IBM 100% on its index of gay-friendliness since 2003 (in 2002, the year it began compiling its report on major companies, IBM scored 86%).

In 2007, IBM UK was ranked the first in the Stonewall UK annual workplace equality index.

IBM has won over forty gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender awards globally.

As part of IBM's diversity program, there is a GLBT Diversity Network Group, as well as a GLBT employee group (called EAGLE – Employee Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Empowerment) with over 1000 registered members worldwide.


Image:Original IBM Logo.png|The logo that was used from 1924 to 1946. The logo is in a form intended to suggest a globe, girdled by the word "International".Image:Older IBM Logo.png|The logo that was used from 1947 to 1956. The familiar "globe" was replaced with the simple letters "IBM" in a typeface called "Beton Bold."Image:Old IBM Logo.png|The logo that was used from 1956 to 1972. IBM said that the letters took on a more solid, grounded and balanced appearance.Image:IBM logo.svg|The striped logo was first used in 1967, and fully replaced the solid logo by 1972. The horizontal stripes suggesting "speed and dynamism."
This logo (in two versions, 8-bar and 13-bar), as well as the previous one, were designed by graphic designer Paul Rand.

IBM's current "8-bar" logo was designed in 1972 by graphic designer Paul Rand.

Logos designed in the 1970s tended to be sensitive to the technical limitations of photocopiers, which were then being widely deployed. A logo with large solid areas tended to be poorly copied by copiers in the 1970s, so companies preferred logos that avoided large solid areas. The 1972 IBM logos are an example of this tendency. With the advent of digital copiers in the mid-1980s this technical restriction had largely disappeared; at roughly the same time, the 13-bar logo was abandoned for almost the opposite reason it was difficult to render accurately on the low-resolution digital printers (240 dots per inch) of the time.

Board of directors

Current members of the board of directors of IBM are:

Corporate headquarters

IBM's headquarters complex is located in Armonkmarker, Town of North Castlemarker, New York, United States. The 283,000 square foot IBM building has three levels of custom curtainwall. The building is located on a 25 acre site.

See also

Further reading

Edwin Black 2008 IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation ISBN 0-914153-10-2
Ulrich Steinhilper 2006 Don't Talk – Do It! From Flying To Word Processing ISBN 1-872386-75-5
Samme Chittum 2004 In an I.B.M. Village, Pollution Fears Taint Relations With Neighbors New York Times
Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. 2002 Who Says Elephants can't Dance? HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-715448-8
Robert Slater 1999 Saving Big Blue: IBM's Lou Gerstner McGraw Hill
Emerson W. Pugh 1996 Building IBM: Shaping an Industry Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker
Robert Heller 1994 The Fate of IBM Little Brown
Paul Carroll 1993 Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM Crown Publishers
Roy A Bauer et al. 1992 The Silverlake Project: Transformation at IBM (AS/400) Oxford University Press
Thomas Watson, Jr. 1990 Father, Son & Co: My Life at IBM and Beyond ISBN 0-553-29023-1
David Mercer 1987 IBM: How the World's Most Successful Corporation is Managed Kogan Page
Richard Thomas DeLamarter 1986 Big Blue: IBM's Use and Abuse of Power Macmillan
Robert Sobel 1986 IBM vs. Japan: The Struggle for the Future ISBN 0-812-83071-7
Buck Rodgers 1986 The IBM Way Harper & Row
Robert Sobel 1981 IBM: Colossus in Transition ISBN 0-8129-1000-1
Robert Sobel 1981 Thomas Watson, Sr.: IBM and the Computer Revolution (biography of Thomas J. Watson) ISBN 1-893122-82-4
William Rodgers 1969 Think: A Biography of the Watsons and IBM ISBN 0812812263


  1. CNET Networks, " IBM challenges partner Cisco".
  2. Martin Campbell-Kelly and William Aspray, "Computer a History of the Information Machine – Second Edition", Westview Press, p. 37, 2004.
  3. Building a smarter planet
  4. "Environmental Protection" 3 May 2008.
  5. "Environmental Protection", 3 May 2008.
  6. "In an I.B.M. Village, Pollution Fears Taint Relations With Neighbors." 15 March 2004. New York Times Online. 1 May 2008.
  7. IBM and Tokyo Ohka Kogyo Turn Up Watts on Solar Energy Production.
  8. IBM
  9. HRC Corporate Equality Index Score International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) profile.
  10. " IBM Archives: International Business Machines (1924-1946)." Retrieved January 16, 2007.
  11. " IBM Archives: IBM in transition (1947-1956)." Retrieved January 16, 2007.
  12. " IBM Archives: IBM continuity (1956-1972)." Retrieved January 16, 2007.
  13. " IBM Archives: IBM international recognition (1972- )." Retrieved January 16, 2007.
  14. IBM Logo History.
  15. [IBM Archives]
  16. " Contact Us." IBM. Retrieved on October 20, 2009.
  17. " Armonk CDP, New York." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on October 20, 2009.
  18. " North Castle town, Westchester county, New York." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on October 20, 2009.
  19. " IBM Corporate headquarters." The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Retrieved on October 21, 2009.

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