Debuting on January 7, 1975, the IBM System/32 was designed specifically to meet the needs of small businesses. It is the first system to incorporate hardware and comprehensive application software. The System/32 was supported by Industry Application Programs for the construction, wholesale paper and office products, wholesale food, hospital, and membership organizations and association industries. Following the System/32 announcement, more than 2,000 inquiries poured in from across the United States for information on the new product.
The desk-sized system, together with an Industry Application Program for membership organizations, rented for less than $1,000 a month. The System/32 could be operated by a clerk after minimum training, using Industry Application Programs tailored by IBM.
The system consisted of a central processing unit (IBM 5320), memory, disk storage, a diskette data read/write facility, and an operator console with visual display screen, keyboard and print capability -- all in a single desk-sized unit.
IBM's manufacturing and development site in Rochester, Minn., developed and manufactured the System/32. The facility shipped 20 systems the first month after it was announced. By May 1978, the System/32 had surpassed the IBM System/3 as the most installed IBM computer.
The System/32 was withdrawn from marketing on October 17, 1984.