International Business Machines Corporation (commonly referred to as IBM) is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation, with corporate headquarters in Armonk, New York. IBM manufactures and markets computer hardware, middleware and software, and offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology.
The company originated in 1911 as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) through the consolidation of The Tabulating Machine Company, the International Time Recording Company, the Computing Scale Company and the Bundy Manufacturing Company. CTR was renamed "International Business Machines" in 1924, a name which Thomas J. Watson first used for a CTR Canadian subsidiary. The initialism IBM followed. Securities analysts nicknamed the company Big Blue for its size and common use of the color in products, packaging and its logo.
In 2012, Fortune ranked IBM the second largest U.S. firm in terms of number of employees (435,000 worldwide), the fourth largest in terms of market capitalization, the ninth most profitable, and the nineteenth largest firm in terms of revenue. Globally, the company was ranked the 31st largest in terms of revenue by Forbes for 2011. Other rankings for 2011/2012 include №1 company for leaders (Fortune), №1 green company in the United States (Newsweek), №2 best global brand (Interbrand), №2 most respected company (Barron's), №5 most admired company (Fortune), and №18 most innovative company (Fast Company).
IBM has 12 research laboratories worldwide, bundled into IBM Research. As of 2013 the company held the record for most patents generated by a business for 22 consecutive years. Its employees have garnered five Nobel Prizes, six Turing Awards, ten National Medals of Technology and five National Medals of Science. Notable company inventions include the automated teller machine (ATM), the floppy disk, the hard disk drive, the magnetic stripe card, the relational database, the Universal Product Code (UPC), the financial swap, the Fortran programming language, SABRE airline reservation system, dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), copper wiring in semiconductors, the silicon-on-insulator (SOI) semiconductor manufacturing process, and Watson artificial intelligence.
IBM has constantly evolved since its inception. Over the past decade, it has steadily shifted its business mix by exiting commoditizing markets such as PCs, hard disk drives and DRAMs and focusing on higher-value, more profitable markets such as business intelligence, data analytics, business continuity, security, cloud computing, virtualization and green solutions, resulting in a higher quality revenue stream and higher profit margins. IBM's operating margin expanded from 16.8% in 2004 to 24.3% in 2013, and net profit margins expanded from 9.0% in 2004 to 16.5% in 2013.
IBM acquired Kenexa (2012) and SPSS (2009) and PwC's consulting business (2002), spinning off companies like printer manufacturer Lexmark (1991), and selling off product lines like its personal computer and x86 server businesses to Lenovo (2005, 2014). In 2014, IBM announced that it would go "fabless" by offloading IBM Micro Electronics semiconductor manufacturing to GlobalFoundries, a leader in advanced technology manufacturing, citing that semiconductor manufacturing is a capital-intensive business which is challenging to operate without scale. This transition had progressed as of early 2015.
On August 6, 2015, IBM announced that it will buy Merge Healthcare Inc for $1 billion. (Source: Wikipedia)