IBM announces the IBM Personal Computer, the smallest and -- with a starting price of $1,565 -- the lowest-priced IBM computer to date. An immediate success, the IBM PC quickly becomes the industry standard, and was one of the reasons Time magazine chose the "personal computer" as its 1982 Man of the Year. The PC also launches a whole industry of "IBM-compatible" clones, software and accessory equipment.
The company closes its branch office in Iran in response to government policy requiring local ownership of data processing enterprises.
IBM Credit Corporation is established as a wholly-owned subsidiary to provide added flexibility and more efficient, single-management focus on financing of installment payment agreements offered by U.S. marketing divisions. IBM establishes a corporate function to coordinate quality programs. The Quality Institute is opened to train managers and professionals in techniques needed to sustain company leadership in quality.
IBM United Kingdom celebrates its 30th anniversary and IBM Taiwan celebrates its 25th anniversary.
The company also introduces the 3081 Model Group K processor, offering 32 million characters of main storage, and significant internal performance improvement; and Multiple Virtual Storage/Extended Architecture, providing additional memory and greater efficiency for large systems users. MVS is IBM's primary large-system control program.
Other products rolled out during 1981 include the 4700 Finance Communication System with compact computer devices for teller and administrative operations; and the 3880 Storage Control Unit that attaches multiple IBM central processing units at data rates up to 3 million characters per second. Deliveries begin of the 3380 Direct Access Storage Device that uses "thin film" technology to read and write data at 3 million characters per second.
Alternative channels to sell IBM products and services are developed as part of significant new marketing direction. Select firms are authorized as dealers to sell selected IBM products as contracts are signed with Sears, Roebuck and Co., Inc., and Computerland to sell IBM Personal Computers; and sales channels are expanded to include manufacturers who integrate IBM assemblies and products into specialized systems.
IBM computers and software play key role in successful first orbital flight of the Space Shuttle.
IBM scientists fabricate 288,000-bit memory chip that holds four times as much data in only twice the area.
Satellite Business Systems begins commercial operations and launches its second satellite.
The first scientific center opens in Brasilia, Brazil, and IBM Canada moves to a 74-acre site northeast of Toronto, Ontario.
IBM begins a $2.7 million audio visual project in Soweto aimed at improving quality of education for South African blacks.
Individualized work schedules for U.S. employees are implemented (flexible work hours had been introduced earlier in World Trade countries).
The Data Processing, General Systems, and Office Products Divisions are consolidated into two new divisions: National Accounts and National Marketing.