IBM pioneers the use of magnetoresistive (MR) heads for disk drives with the 1 gigabyte (GB) 3.5-inch drive, which provided the highest areal density available at that time. The gigabyte drive sets the stage for rapid increases in hard drive density.
U.S. President George Bush presents a 1991 National Medal of Technology to IBM scientist John Cocke, who invented Reduced Instruction Set Computer technology. IBM Fellow Leo Esaki receives the IEEE Medal of Honor, the organization's highest award, for pioneering research into the structure and properties of semiconductor materials.
The corporation announces changes that will begin to redefine IBM as an organization of increasingly independent businesses and companies.
Following the sale of IBM's typewriter and keyboard business to Clayton & Dubilier, Inc., a new company - Lexmark International, Inc. - is formed in March to develop, manufacture and sell information products worldwide. IBM will have a 10 percent equity interest in the new company and will market many of its products.
A wholly-owned subsidiary, IBM USSR Ltd., is established in Moscow to take advantage of business opportunities in the Soviet Union. Since 1990 IBM has sold more than 13,000 personal computers to the Soviet Union for use primarily in secondary schools.
IBM unveils a new operating system software - Advanced Interactive Executive/Enterprise System Architecture (AIX/ESA) - for the System/390 family. AIX/ESA is a further step in IBM's implementation of open-systems computing across its product line and is based on UNIX and the Open Software Foundation's OSF/1 standards.
IBM Japan says it will supply Enterprise System/9000 processors and operating system software to Mitsubishi Electric Corp. for remarketing. The agreement marks the first time IBM has sold large processors as an original equipment manufacturer for resale.
The company announces the IBM 9075 PCradio, a battery-powered personal computer that lets mobile workers, such as service technicians, get information, order parts and update customer records without leaving their job sites via radio, cellular or telephone communications.
A laptop computer - the IBM Personal System/2 L40 SX - is introduced to give customers computing capabilities on the road or in the air. The 7.7 pound unit features a full-sized keyboard, 10-inch display screen and high-capacity disk drive.
IBM Japan announces the Personal System/55note, a 5.5-pound notebook-size computer providing a Japanese and English-language capability.
IBM wins a systems integration contract making the company the prime contractor for the EH101 Merlin antisubmarine helicopters for the U.K. Royal Navy. Poland's Bank Slaski selects IBM to fully automate its 42 branches. Euro Disney S.C.A. signs an agreement making IBM France the office supplier of information technology for the Euro Disney Resort.
IBM researchers develop an experimental computer chip - dubbed "Lightning" - that can move, in just one second, up to 8 billion bits of information - roughly the amount of information needed to fill a half-million computer screens. IBM also develops a way to build up to 20,000 lasers - each only a fraction of an inch long - on a semiconductor wafer.
Apple Computer Inc. and IBM announce in October a series of agreements which include Motorola Inc. as a technology partner. The agreements include: products to link Apple Macintosh personal computers into IBM networks; new Reduced Instruction Set Computer microprocessors for personal computers and low-cost workstations; a new open-systems environment in which both IBM AIX and Macintosh software programs can run on RISC-based systems from both companies; a joint venture to create and license multimedia technologies for a wide range of companies and industries; and an independent, jointly-owned company to develop object-oriented software, a building block for developing applications.
To broaden its office offerings, IBM forms an alliance with Lotus Development Corp. to market Lotus software under license. The company extends its networking products licensing agreement with Novell Inc. and agrees to work with Borland International Inc. on software development tools.
IBM and Hoechst Celanese Corporation announce a series of agreements under which Hoechst AG and Hoechst Celanese will manufacture certain photoresist systems developed by IBM and sell them under the Hoechst label - the first time IBM photoresists will be offered for general sale to the semiconductor industry. Photoresists are a light-sensitive chemical used to coat the surface of silicon wafers.
IBM's worldwide manufacturing sites in 1991 reduce chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions 53 percent from 1990 levels, for a cumulative reduction of 83 percent since IBM's CFC-elimination program began in 1987. IBM's year-to-year energy consumption from 1990 to 1991 remains virtually flat for the first time in a decade, saving more than $32 million in electricity costs in 1991.
IBM receives the 1991 Business of the Year Award from the American Society on Aging for community-sensitive programs designed for older people and their families.
IBM creates the IBM School Development Initiative to lead the company's participation in the design of new primary and secondary schools, as part of the U.S. Department of Education's America 2000 education strategy. IBM Mexico is one of five Mexican companies selected for the "Distincion Mexico" award for its exceptional performance for promoting the development of education in Mexico. IBM signs an agreement with the Polish Ministry of National Education and 14 Polish universities to create an IBM computer network linking the schools.