IBM introduced its System/3 computer (IBM 5410) on July 30, 1969 to meet the computing needs of small businesses. It was the first system totally developed in-house by the company's laboratory in Rochester, Minn., and the most significant IBM product announcement since the IBM System/360 in 1964. The System/3 was not compatible with the System/360, as it featured a smaller punched card which could encode up to 96 characters per card. The System/3 used IBM's new monolithic integrated circuits, and rented for less than $1,000 a month -- about half the cost of a System/360 Model 20.
On October 28, 1970, the company rolled out the IBM System/3 Model 6 (IBM 5406). Rochester's Advanced Unit Record Systems Programming group had developed the Report Programming Generator II programming language intended for commercial applications on the Model 6.
On July 10, 1973, IBM introduced a new, larger-capacity System/3 -- the Model 15 (IBM 5415) -- with added function and versatility. Developed in Rochester, the Model 15 was manufactured in Boca Raton, Fla., and in Vimercate, Italy.
By July 1974, more than 25,000 System/3s had been installed around the world, and another version, Model 8, jointly designed by Rochester and Boca Raton, debuted that September.
The System/3 was ultimately succeeded by the IBM System/38 in 1978, and all System/3 models had been withdrawn from marketing by June 1985.