Who's Afraid of Big Blue?

Who's Afraid of Big Blue?

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McKenna, Regis Addison-Wesley, 1989
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IN THIS SUMMARY

Tom Watson, Sr., set up a model of the modern industrial company. He based many of his ideas on those of his mentor, John T. Patterson of NCR, from whom Watson learned lessons in hardball business competition, such as annihilating the competition by tampering with competitors' products, building faulty look-alikes, and price wars. Watson, the heir-apparent to Patterson at NCR, was fired suddenly, he switched to Computing-Tabulating- Recording Co. in 1914 and set out to make the company the leader in the tabulating machine market. He changed the name to International Business Machines to give the company an image of greatness. The company's success was basically due to three factors: his competitive zeal, his ability to build employee loyalty, and his ability to take advantage of changing markets. By the mid-1920s, IBM leased 85 percent of the tabulating machines, 87 percent of the sorting machines, and 81 percent of the punch-card machines in the United States.Many people believe that IBM will continue to be a dominant force in the computer industry, but IBM has already demonstrated a perceived need to fight for its markets by actions such as moving into the supercomputer market and a restructuring of its organization in 1988. Big Blue is increasingly vulnerable, however.