The origin of IBM can be traced to late 19th century. It precedes, by decades, the arrival of electronic computer. Officially, IBM is a product of a merger by three companies: the Tabulating Machine Company, the International Time Recording Company and the Computing Scale Corporation. Charles Flint, a noted financier, engineered the merger that led to the birth of the Computing Tabulating Recording (CTR) Corporation, which was incorporated June 16, 1911 in New York
The new company proves difficult to manage. To savage the situation, Flint beckoned on Thomas J. Watson, Sr., then deputy head of the National Cash Register Company. Watson took full leadership position in CTR in 1915. He quickly put his managerial experience to work and implemented a number of shrewd business tactics. His strategies yielded great results as in just four years at the helms, the company revenues doubled and its operations expanded to Asia, Australia, Europe and South America. He later changed the company’s name from CTR to the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).
The death of Thomas J. Watson, Sr. in 1952 brought about the first leadership change in the company. His first son, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. step into his father’s shoe as the new Chief executive. Being as shrewd as his father, he foresaw the important position computers would occupy in businesses few years to come. This prompted him to transform IBM from just a medium-sized maker of typewriters and tabulating equipment into a corporate world’s leading computer giant.
However, the Golden Decades of the Watsons were hard to sustain. The 1992 financial year for IBM was terrible; it announced a loss of US$8.10 billion, which was the largest ever recorded loss by a corporate U.S. firm in a single-year. IBM loss it pride in the computer industry and was considered no longer relevant. As would be expected, thousands of its employees lost their jobs; even the then incumbent CEO, John Akers, was not spared.
IBM has since recovered its industry leadership position and financial footing. As stated on Wikipedia, it is now in the forefront of computer companies redefining the Internet age.