Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM by Paul Carroll

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By Paul Carroll

Presents the interior tale of the increase and fall of IBM, supplying a devastating examine of company forms, loss of foresight, and decline.


A savvy newsman's tellingly designated file at the ruinous decline of IBM. Drawing on a wealth of within assets, Wall road magazine correspondent Carroll bargains an unsparing account of a advertisement juggernaut whose button-down tradition, inflexible paperwork, and complacent executives stifled improvement initiatives which can have ensured its dominance of the worldwide computing device good into the twenty first century. In remarkably brief order, in-house deficiencies and inroads made by way of nimbler opponents (Apple, Compaq, Intel, etc.) have decreased an erstwhile pacesetter to the prestige of a crippled colossus scuffling with for its very lifestyles in an more and more unforgiving market. because the writer makes transparent, in addition, titanic Blue's downfall has triggered frequent ache and damage. as well as the commercial bills borne through pushed aside staff, host groups, providers, and traders, the USA may well lose an important degree of its aggressive facet in complex applied sciences as a result of substantially decrease examine budgets at IBM. The critical advantage of Carroll's harsh reckoning is his chapter-and-verse solving of blame for mistakes that experience mixed to humble a once-mighty firm. between different issues, he recounts how tremendous Blue (whose hierarchs stubbornly attempted to guard the company's flagship franchise in profitable yet obsolescent mainframes) fumbled probabilities to open insurmountable leads in own desktops, computer software program, laser printers, microprocessor chips, and allied items for which call for has proved brisk. no matter if IBM's new stewards can plot a path that may permit the debt-burdened leviathan regain something remotely equivalent to its former eminence, less profitability, continues to be a really open query for the writer. between different difficulties, he notes that layoffs and voluntary departures (spurred via beautiful severance programs) haven't simply lowered but additionally demoralized the to be had pool of technical, revenues, and administration expertise. Perceptive views on machine blunders of convulsive value. --Kirkus affiliates, LP.

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Extra resources for Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM

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IBM insisted that the room where its two PC prototypes were being kept needed to have the drop ceiling modified so that the top of the room could be covered with chicken wire. That way, someone crawling over the wall from the office next door and sneaking into the room would have to cut through the wire and therefore leave a trace. (Little did IBM know that the office next door belonged to a brokerage firm, which would have loved to know about IBM✓’s secret. ) The real problem oc­ curred because IBM insisted that the door to the room with its proto­ types be locked at all times.

Actual customers couldn’t get to the PCs. Flushed with the PC ’s success, Estridge and his merry band began pushing in lots of new directions in late 1981 and into 1982. They had unlimited credibility with senior m anagement because in that first year 44 PAUL CARROLL they delivered nearly $1 billion of revenue that, not being in anyone’s business plan, appeared to come out of thin air. That kind of surprise just didn’t happen at IBM. Estridge’s bosses looked at him as some sort of magician. Estridge had already started working on a more advanced PC even before the original one came out, so his group had the new version, called the XT, out by early 1983.

That m eant its screen would not only reproduce letters but would also allow for pro­ grams that would draw shapes— a feature that a couple of years later made possible Lotus 1-2-3, the software application that had the most to do with the PC ’s eventual success. (Although it’s hard to rem em ber back that far, the machines Estridge was com peting against had even fewer capabilities than those he was building into the PC. His com peti­ tors w ere the Tin Lizzies of the PC age. Made by Apple, Tandy, Kaypro, and a host of other com panies— many no longer in existence— these machines had screens that contained just a few lines.

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