IBM: Highlights Of 100 Years

As IBM celebrates its 100th birthday this month, we take a look back at some of the major moments in the company's history.

The Background

Take a look back on IBM's accomplishments through its 100-year history.

Selectric Typewriter

1961: The Selectric typewriter was an instant design sensation, delighting typists for 25 years.

Thomas Watson, Jr.

CEO Thomas Watson passes the reins to his son Thomas Watson, Jr.


1956: IBM created the data storage industry with RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control), containing the world's first magnetic hard disk drive. The size of two kitchen refrigerators side by side, the drives were about 10 megabits of capacity and 10 tons in weight; the average laptop today would weigh about 250,000 tons based on that technology.

Stretch Computer

1960: IBM's Stretch computer (so named because it "stretched" technology) became the industry's most powerful computer and pioneer of computer multitasking.


1964: IBM CEO Thomas Watson, Jr., made the biggest bet of his career with the System/360 family of computers, which ushered in an era of computer compatibility. Based on semiconductor chips, it dominated the industry for 20 years. With two years and $5 billion to develop -- more than $30 billion today -- System/360 remains one of the largest privately financed commercial projects ever.

Apollo Mission

1969: IBM technology guided the Apollo mission to the moon. The company has played a part in the U.S. space program since the 1950s.

IBM Personal Computer

1981: The IBM Personal Computer launched the PC revolution, helping computers go mainstream and beyond just hobbyists and geeks.

Deep Blue

1998: IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer defeated the best chess player in the world.

Watson on 'Jeopardy'

2011: IBM's Watson computer system, powered by IBM Power7, competes against the "Jeopardy" game show's two most successful and celebrated contestants -- Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter -- in a practice match held during a press conference at IBM's Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., on January 13. Watson competed against -- and defeated -- Jennings and Rutter in the first-ever man-vs.-machine "Jeopardy" competition in February.

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