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International Business Machines Corporation (known as IBM or "Big Blue"; NYSE: IBM) is a multinational computer technology corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA. 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, software, infrastructure services, hosting services and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology.
With almost 330,000 employees worldwide and revenues of US $91 billion in 2005, IBM is the largest information technology company in the world. IBM holds more patents than any other technology company. IBM has engineers and consultants in over 170 countries and IBM Research has eight laboratories worldwide. IBM employees have earned five Nobel Prizes, four Turing Awards, five National Medals of Technology, and five National Medals of Science. As a chip maker, IBM is among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders.
The company which became IBM was founded in 1889 as Herman Hollerith and the Tabulating Machine Company. It was incorporated as Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR)) on June 15, 1911, and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1916. IBM adopted its current name in 1924.
BlueEyes is an ongoing venture that attempts to naturalize the interaction between humans and computers, enabling devices to recognize and use facial expressions and other natural input. The initial developments of this project include scroll mice and other input devices that sense the user's pulse, facial expressions, and eyelid movement.
Eclipse is a platform-independent, Java-based software framework. Eclipse was originally a proprietary product developed by IBM as a successor of the VisualAge family of tools. Eclipse has subsequently been released as free/open source software under the Eclipse Public License.
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 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 information.
ExtremeBlue 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 tend to involve rapid-prototyping of high-profile software and hardware projects. Entry into ExtremeBlue is competitive for both interns and IBM employees.
Virtually all modern console gaming systems use microprocessors developed by IBM. The Xbox 360 contains the Xenon tri-core chipset, which was designed and produced by IBM in less than 24 months. Sony's PlayStation 3 features the Cell microprocessor designed jointly by IBM, Toshiba, and Sony. Nintendo's seventh-generation console, Wii, features an IBM chip codenamed Broadway. The older Nintendo GameCube also utilizes the Gekko processor, designed by IBM.
In May 2002, IBM and Butterfly.net, 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.
Big Blue is a nickname for IBM; several theories exist regarding its origin. One theory is that business writers coined the name from the blue room-sized mainframes IBM installed in the 1950s and 1960s. 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 blue suits.
IBM has often been described as having a sales-centric or a sales-oriented business culture. Traditionally, many IBM executives and general managers are chosen from the sales force. Middle and top management are often enlisted to give direct support to salesmen when pitching sales to important customers.
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 1990's, CEO Lou Gerstner relaxed these codes, normalizing the dress and behavior of IBM employees to resemble their counterparts in other large technology companies.
In 2003, IBM embarked on an ambitious project to rewrite company values. Using its Jam technology, the company hosted Intranet-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.
In July and September 2006, Palmisano launched another jam called InnovationJam. InnovationJam was the largest online brainstorming session ever with more than 150,000 participants from 104 countries. The participants were IBM employees, members of IBM employees' families, universities, partners, and customers. InnovationJam was divided in two sessions (one in July and one in September) for 72 hours each and generated more than 46,000 ideas. In November 2006, IBM declared that they will invest $US 100 million in the 10 best ideas from InnovationJam.
IBM has been influenced by the open source movement, 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 circa $US40 million at the time of the donation) 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).
Project Management Center of Excellence
The IBM Project Management Center of Excellence (PM COE) is a program dedicated to defining and executing the steps IBM must take to strengthen its project management capabilities. Functioning as IBM's think tank, the PM COE combines external industry trends and directions with IBM business, organizational, and geographic requirements and insight. Upon this foundation deliverables (such as project management policy, practices, methods, and tools) are developed.
All IBM Project Managers (PMs) on the Project Management track (dimension) must complete either accreditation or IBM certification. Junior PMs (Associate PM and Advisory PM) are accredited after self-assessment and authorization from supervisors. Senior PMs (Senior PM and Executive PM) must go through a stringent IBM certification process. By validating project managers' expertise and skills against consistent worldwide standards, certification helps maintain customer confidence in the high quality of IBM professionals and it recognizes IBM professionals for their skills and experience.
Becoming certified is public recognition of achieving a significant career milestone and demonstrating expertise in the profession. Prior to applying for IBM certification each individual must have:
- successfully passed PMI exam (i.e. be a certified PMP).
- verifiable documentation and approval for mastery/expertise in a well-defined set of PM skills.
- several years of PM experience spanning at least 3 verifiable projects within the immediate 5 years( including specific role, team size, and budget requirements).
- verifiable documentation and proof of at least one area of specialty.
- demonstrated the use of IBM's Worldwide Project Management Method (WWPMM).
- completed extensive classroom and online education and testing.
IBM PM Certification is a well-defined review and verification process with many intricate details. In its most simplified form, it broadly involves:
- Candidate preparing a detailed package with proof of above requirements.
- Package review, approval, and support by at least two levels of Senior Management.
- Package review and re-verification by PM COE expert.
- Personal interviews with the PM COE Certification board.
- Candidates whose experience, skills, knowledge and education are deemed valid, verifiable and accurate, are certified by the board as either Certified Senior Project Manager (CSPM) or Certified Executive Project Manager (CEPM).
IBM PM Certification is a significant achievement for any IBMer. It is a deliberately long process with multiple checkpoints designed to ensure the integrity, fairness and validity of the certification.
Diversity and workforce issues
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).
The company has traditionally resisted labor union organizing, although unions represent some IBM workers outside the United States. Alliance@IBM, part of the Communications Workers of America, is trying to organize IBM in the U.S. with very little success.
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. In more recent years there have been a number of broad sweeping cuts to the workforce as IBM attempts to adapt to changing market conditions and a declining profit base. After posting weaker than expected revenues in the first quarter of 2005, IBM eliminated 14,500 positions from its workforce, predominantly in Europe. On June 8, 2005, IBM Canada Ltd. eliminated approximately 700 positions. IBM projects these as part of a strategy to 'rebalance' its portfolio of professional skills & 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.
On October 10, 2005, IBM became the first major company in the world to formally commit to not using genetic information in its employment decisions. This came just a few months after IBM announced its support of the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project.
IBM provides employees' same-sex partners with benefits and provides an anti-discrimination clause. The Human Rights Campaign has consistently rated IBM at 100%, the highest score, on its index of gay-friendliness since 2003 (in 2002, the year it began compiling its report on major companies, IBM scored 86%).
Logos designed in the 1970's 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 1970's, so companies preferred logos that avoided large solid areas. The 1972 IBM logo is an example of this tendency. With the advent of digital copiers in the mid-1980's this technical restriction had largely disappeared.
Board of directors
Current members of the board of directors of IBM are: Cathleen Black, Ken Chenault, Juergen Dormann, Michael Eskew, Shirley Ann Jackson, Charles F. Knight, Minoru Makihara, Lucio Noto, James W. Owens (effective 1 March 2006), Samuel J. Palmisano, Joan Spero, Sidney Taurel, Charles Vest, and Lorenzo Zambrano.
- IBM System/360
- IBM System/370
- IBM ESA/390
- IBM System z9
- IBM PC
- IBM PC compatible (or IBM PC clone)
- IBM OS/2
- List of IBM acquisitions and spinoffs
- List of IBM products
- SCO v. IBM
References in popular culture
- Brian De Palma (director). (1961). 660124: The Story of an IBM Card [film].
- CPU Wars
- Daisy Bell
- Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn. (1957). Desk Set [film]. Twentieth Century-Fox.
- IBM Deep Blue Chess computer
- Models. (1980). "Happy Birthday IBM" from the album Alphabravocharliedeltaechofoxtrotgolf.
References and footnotes
- ^ a b c d IBM Stock Report. Morningstar, Inc.. Retrieved on 2006-06-27.
- ^ a b c IBM: Company Overview. Reuters. Retrieved on 2006-06-27.
- ^ http://domino.research.ibm.com/comm/research.nsf/pages/r.nanotech.html
- ^ IBM maintains patent lead, moves to increase patent quality (2006-01-10).
- ^ Worldwide IBM Research Locations. IBM. Retrieved on 2006-06-21.
- ^ Awards & Achievements. IBM. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
- ^ IBM Almaden Research Center.
- ^ IBM delivers Power-based chip for Microsoft Xbox 360 worldwide launch. IBM (2005-10-25).
- ^ Butterfly and IBM introduce first video game industry computing grid. IBM (2002-05-09).
- ^ IBM joins forces with game companies around the world to accelerate innovation. IBM (2006-03-21).
- ^ a b (2006) Postphenomenology: A Critical Companion to Ihde. State University of New York Press, 228. ISBN 0-7914-6787-2.
- ^ (2004) Logos, Letterheads & Business Cards: Design for Profit. Rotovision, 15. ISBN 2-88046-750-0.
- ^ The Essential Guide to Computing: The Story of Information Technology. Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR, 55. ISBN 0-13-019469-7.
- ^ Samuel J. Palmisano (2004-04-27). Speeches. IBM.
- ^ (December 2004) "Leading Change When Business Is Good: The HBR Interview--Samuel J. Palmisano". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved on 26 November 2006.
- ^ IBM to invest $100M in new business areas (2006-11-14).
- ^ IBM launches biggest Linux lineup ever. IBM (1999-03-02). Archived from the original on 1999-11-10.
- ^ Farrah Hamid (2006-05-24). IBM invests in Brazil Linux Tech Center. LWN.net.
- ^ Interview: The Eclipse code donation. IBM (2001-11-01).
- ^ 100 best companies for working mothers 2004. Working Mother Media, Inc.. Archived from the original on 2004-10-17.
- ^ 100 best companies 2005. Working Mother Media, Inc.. Retrieved on 2006-06-26.
- ^ IBM settles overtime lawsuit for $65 million.
- Gerstner, Jr., Louis V. (2002). Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-715448-8.
- IBM official website
- Press Room
- Syndicated Information
- Executive Interaction Channel
- Grid computing
- The IBM Songbook; Ever Onward (needs Flash)
- IBM Research, with links to Cambridge, Massachusetts and Zurich facilities, among others
- IBM Antitrust Suit Records 1950-1982
- IBM Jargon Dictionary
- IBM Compatibles
- developerWorks - IBM's resource for software developers, including blogs
- IBM Executive Compensation
- History of IBM Watson Research Laboratory at Columbia University
- Business data
- IBM Corp. at Google Finance
- IBM Corp. at Yahoo Finance
- IBM Corp. at Hoover's
- IBM Corp. at Reuters
- IBM Corp. SEC filings at EDGAR Online
- IBM Corp. SEC filings at the Securities and Exchange Commission