International Business Machines (IBM) (NYSE: IBM) is a multinational technology and consulting firm headquartered in Armonk, New York. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology.
The company was founded in 1911 as the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation through a merger of four companies: the Tabulating Machine Company, the International Time Recording Company, the Computing Scale Corporation, and the Bundy Manufacturing Company. CTR adopted the name International Business Machines in 1924, using a name previously designated to CTR's subsidiary in Canada and later South America. Its distinctive culture and product branding has given it the nickname Big Blue.
In 2011, Fortune ranked IBM the 18th largest firm in the U.S., as well as the 7th most profitable. Globally, the company was ranked the 31st largest firm by Forbes for 2011.Other rankings for 2011 include #1 company for leaders (Fortune), #2 best global brand (Interbrand), #1 green company worldwide (Newsweek), #12 most admired company (Fortune), and #18 most innovative company (Fast Company). IBM employs more than 425,000 employees (sometimes referred to as "IBMers") in over 200 countries, with occupations including scientists, engineers, consultants, and sales professionals.
IBM holds more patents than any other U.S.-based technology company and has nine research laboratories worldwide. Its employees have garnered fiveNobel Prizes, four Turing Awards, nine National Medals of Technology, and five National Medals of Science. Famous inventions by IBM include theautomated 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, SABRE airline reservation system, DRAM, and Watson artificial intelligence.
The company has undergone several organizational changes since its inception, acquiring companies like SPSS (2009) and PwC consulting (2002),spinning off companies like Lexmark (1991), and selling off product lines like ThinkPad to Lenovo (2005).