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To describe IBM as a global or multinational technology firm is a serious understatement. The International Business Machines Corporation is one of the biggest makers of computer software, hardware, and technology. They have a presence in more than 170 countries and employ more than 350,000 workers all over the world. They are the second biggest firm in the world in terms of its employees and in the top 20 for their annual revenue. In 2014, their revenue was more than $92 billion, and they remain one of the most stable forces in modern business.

The History of IBM

Officially started in 1911, the firm that would eventually become IBM was actually the result of a merger between three new technologies that had each appeared only in the 1880s. These three technologies include a computing scale, dial recorder, and electric tabulating machine. With those technologies and the first time clock with paper tape recording, founder Charles Ranlett Flint established CTR or the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company in New York City.

Large even at the start, the company had more than 1,000 employees and plants in several locations. It sold a range of business oriented machines including punch card machines, tabulators and time recording units. When Flint brought on some new leadership in 1914, it could be said that the foundation for the modern business ideal was created. Salesmen in suits, incentives, and the selection of a targeted market allowed the firm to grow exponentially in just four years time.

Emphasizing quality and large scale solutions for businesses, the firm expanded into all corners of the world and by 1924 would take the name it has today - IBM.

Because they emphasized big business needs, they drew the attention of the U.S. government. The ability to handle huge data sets was something that many groups needed, and so the firm experienced nearly explosive growth throughout the 30s and into 40s.

World War II saw IBM retooling some plants to produce arms, but also using their remarkable technologies for translation services too. After the war, IBM expanded into the Middle East, and a change in leadership saw the firm also begin to take a look at even more advanced science than ever before, making a working example of AI (artificial intelligence) when they built a machine capable of playing a game of checkers against a human partner.

IBM was involved in creating early scientific programming language, developing part of the early airline reservation system, working with NASA and creating the first of its computer systems. They were responsible for innovating the UPC or universal product codes we still use today, and also developing the scanners that could read them.

The dawn of the personal computer era; however, saw IBM enter into a state of turmoil as some of the leadership wanted to remain focused on mainframe (big business) computers and systems, and others sought to enter the emerging personal computer market.

They did introduce one of the first PCs in 1981 and partnered with Lexmark printers in the early 1990s. They struggled along in this area for some time, and sold the PC segment in 2005. They then refocused on software and hardware, infrastructure, mainframe computers, and nanotechnology.

IBM Today

The modern incarnation of IBM is a firm with an amazing range of solutions, services and products for almost any industry. They work with automotive and banking, insurance and government, media and mining and just about any other industry imaginable. Their products help to manage risk, reduce costs, improve customer experiences, and even increase revenues.

The products that IBM offers can be divided into a few categories that include software, systems, and storage. They also provide services and consultations to enable big businesses to discover their needs and premium solutions. The products they have available are proprietary designs, and include their z Systems, Power Systems, System Storage and PureFlex Systems. They also offer scalable cloud servers and storage. The storage is also diverse and includes disk, flash, tape, virtual tape, media, and network options.

Known around the globe as "big blue", IBM is a massive force in the world of computers. It has evolved with the industry, and even shaped and directed it. The brand is more than simply reliable, and is one of the most trusted names in the industry.

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