Building IBM: Shaping an Industry and Its Technology

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MIT Press, 23. jaan 2009 - 432 pages

No company of the twentieth century achieved greater success and engendered more admiration, respect, envy, fear, and hatred than IBM. Building IBM tells the story of that company—how it was formed, how it grew, and how it shaped and dominated the information processing industry. Emerson Pugh presents substantial new material about the company in the period before 1945 as well as a new interpretation of the postwar era.Granted unrestricted access to IBM's archival records and with no constraints on the way he chose to treat the information they contained, Pugh dispels many widely held myths about IBM and its leaders and provides new insights on the origins and development of the computer industry.Pugh begins the story with Herman Hollerith's invention of punched-card machines used for tabulating the U.S. Census of 1890, showing how Hollerith's inventions and the business he established provided the primary basis for IBM. He tells why Hollerith merged his company in 1911 with two other companies to create the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, which changed its name in 1924 to International Business Machines. Thomas J. Watson, who was hired in 1914 to manage the merged companies, exhibited remarkable technological insight and leadership—in addition to his widely heralded salesmanship—to build Hollerith's business into a virtual monopoly of the rapidly growing punched-card equipment business. The fascinating inside story of the transfer of authority from the senior Watson to his older son, Thomas J. Watson Jr., and the company's rapid domination of the computer industry occupy the latter half of the book. In two final chapters, Pugh examines conditions and events of the 1970s and 1980s and identifies the underlying causes of the severe probems IBM experienced in the 1990s.

 

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Contents

Inventor and Entrepreneur
1
2 Origins of IBM
19
A Man with a Mission
29
4 Building an Engineering Organization
37
5 Responding to the Great Depression
53
6 Support for Academic Research
67
7 Research for Patents and Devices
77
8 World War II Activities
89
14 Programming Computers
183
15 An Air Defense System
199
16 Chasing New Technologies
221
17 Legacy
243
18 Gambling on System360
263
19 Commitment and Delivery
279
20 Onrush of Technology
301
21 Demands of the Future
317

9 Future Demands
109
10 Preparing for Peace
117
11 GovernmentFunded Competition
131
12 IBMs Initial Response
145
13 Watson Jr Takes Charge
163
Appendixes
323
Notes
331
Index
395
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About the author (2009)

An internationally recognized leader in magnetics and computer memory technologies, Emerson W. Pugh is a member of the research staff at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights and author of the widely used text, Principles of Electricity and Magnetism.

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