1981 coincided with the beginning of a new era in computing. Thanks to the birth of the IBM Personal Computer or PC, the IBM brand began to enter homes, small business and schools.The appointment of John R. Opel as CEO in
Though not a spectacular machine by technological standards, the IBM PC brought together all of the most desirable features of a computer into one small machine. It offered 16 kilobytes of user memory (expandable to 256 kilobytes), one or two floppy disks and an optional color monitor. When designing the PC, IBM for the first time contracted the production of its components to outside companies. The processor chip came from Intel and the operating system, called DOS (Disk Operating System) came from a 32-person company called Microsoft.
John F. Akers became CEO in 1985 and focused on streamlining operations and redeploying resources. During Akers' tenure, IBM's significant investment in research produced four Nobel Prize winners in physics, achieved breakthroughs in mathematics, memory storage and telecommunications, and made great strides in expanding computing capabilities.
The IBM token-ring local area network, introduced in 1985, permitted personal computer users to exchange information and share printers and files within a building or complex. With the further development of the computer, IBM laid a foundation for network computing and numerous other applications.