IBM becomes the first major company to introduce a network computer - the IBM Network Station, a new kind of desktop device that provides access to networked applications and processing power while reducing the cost of desktop computing. The Network Station enables customers to use an economical platform for doing net-based business ("e-business").
The DB2 Universal Database, the industry's first fully scalable, Web-ready database management system, is announced. It is called "universal" because it can sort and query alphanumeric data as well as text documents, images, audio, video and other complex objects In 1996, some 70 percent of the world's business information is managed by IBM databases.
IBM and Tivoli Systems Inc. enter a merger agreement. Tivoli is a leading provider of systems management software and services for distributed client/server networks of personal computers and workstations. IBM's acquisition of Tivoli extends the company's strength in host-based systems management to multiplatform distributed systems.
IBM and Edmark Corporation, a developer and publisher of consumer and education software, complete a merger.
IBM introduces its third generation of microprocessor-based mainframes, the S/390 Parallel Enterprise Server. With twice the performance of IBM's previous high-end S/390 CMOS servers, it can be linked to other S/390 systems to deliver more than 10,000 MIPS. Shipments of mainframe power grow 50 percent during the year.
The U.S. Department of Energy selects IBM to build the world's fastest supercomputer. Capable of performing more than three trillion calculations per second (3 teraflops), the RS/6000 SP will simulate nuclear explosions and reduce the need for live tests.
In personal systems hardware, IBM announces the Aptiva S Series, the first home computer that lets people place the monitor and media drives on the desk and tuck the tower out of the way; and the ThinkPad 560, an ultra-thin 1.2-inch, 4.1-pound package.
Among the storage product announcements are: two 2.5-inch disk drives, including the highest capacity low-profile drive available for notebook computers and the world's first disk drive products to exceed one billion bits of data in a square inch of disk space. IBM also unveils the lightest 2.5-inch hard disk drive for mobile computers. (The world's first hard disk drive for computer storage was invented 40 years ago by IBM, and was the size of two refrigerators; this new drive is so small that two could be fitted into a shirt pocket.)
Among the other 1996 software announcements are: the initial availability of the IBM Net.Commerce system, software that makes it possible for businesses to quickly, easily and safely create virtual storefronts on the Internet; and IBM Software Servers, an integrated series of leading IBM and Lotus software solutions for Internet access, data management and collaborative computing.
At Fall Internet World 1996, IBM Chairman Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., unveils the notion of the "new killer apps," a world of transaction-intensive, networked applications delivered to a world of connected individuals by all of the world's most important institutions. At a time when the conventional wisdom casts the Internet as the home of games, information and e-mail, this speech reorients the debate around the more profound vocational implications of networked computing.
IBM launches a number of network computing products and services in 1996, including: IBM Cryptolope containers to seal intellectual property in a digital package so that people can buy and sell content securely over the Internet; the SecureWay Key Management Framework, a collection of applications, services and cryptographic engines that help make the Internet safe for electronic commerce; and World Avenue, an online shopping mall designed to help retailers get on the Net more quickly and more affordably than they could on their own.
IBM begins a pilot program with MasterCard using Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) technology. The software secures credit card transactions over the Internet.
At the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, IBM demonstrates the largest integrated information technology system ever seen by a mass audience. IBM systems are deployed on 30 interconnected venues. An estimated three terabytes of time-sensitive, transaction-oriented data are collected during accreditation, games management, scoring and other events, and are passed through 7,000 microcomputers, 250 LANs, 500 data lines and 2,000 wireless computers and other system communications devices. The system also supports 80 AS/400 servers and four System/390 mainframe computers. An IBM SP2 supercomputer acts as the World Wide Web server and runs the Regional Weather Forecasting System.
Lucent Technologies and IBM sign a multi-year, multi-billion dollar outsourcing agreement, in which IBM will manage the majority of Lucent's day-to-day information technology operations. IBM and The MetraHealth Companies, Inc., a subsidiary of United HealthCare Corporation, signs a 10-year, $540 million contract for information technology services.
For the fourth consecutive year, IBM surpasses its own record for U.S. patents, receiving 1,867 U.S. patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 329 more than any other company receives in 1996.
Three IBMers are inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame: Ruth Leach Amonette, IBM retiree (and in 1943, the company's first female vice president); Dr. Barbara D. Grant, general manager, Tucson, and vice president, Storage Systems Division; and Linda S. Sanford, general manager, System/390 Division.
IBM sets a new world record in magnetic data-storage density - five billion bits of data per square inch - the equivalent of 312,500 double-spaced typewritten pages (a stack 104 feet high) in one square inch of disk surface.
IBM scientists publish evidence that a fundamentally new type of electron behavior is responsible for the so-called "high-temperature" superconductivity that was first discovered in a certain class of ceramic materials 10 years ago. IBM researchers demonstrate technologies that allow an "electronic wallet" to receive pages, act as a universal credit card, scan in a receipt, transmit messages or be used as a phone.
Sixteen banks and IBM come together to form the Integrion Financial Network to deliver home banking to more than half of the retail banking population in North America.
The National Hockey League, in partnership with IBM, form an alliance - NHL Interactive Cyber Enterprises - that will use new and emerging technology to promote the growth of hockey worldwide. The Professional Golf Association of America teams with IBM to present a state-of-the-art cybercast of the 78th PGA Championship which takes place in August in Louisville, Kentucky
IBM partners with American Express to pilot smart cards for ticketless air travel.
The company announces an $440 million investment for disk drive and component manufacturing expansion, including a new disk drive manufacturing facility in Prachinburi, Thailand.
IBM says it will open a new international HelpCenter in Dublin, Ireland, and expand its HelpCenter in Greenock, Scotland, as part of a $150 million investment by the IBM PC Company to maintain and expand its worldwide PC telephone support capabilities.
IBM is the largest corporate contributor in 1996. Over the last decade, IBM has contributed more than $1.3 billion to nonprofit organizations, schools and universities - close to four million hours of volunteer time in the United States alone, and millions more around the world.
IBM hosts the National Education Summit attended by U.S. governors, business leaders and President Bill Clinton. The summit addresses ways to raise national education standards and achievement. Speaking at the opening plenary session, IBM Chairman Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., delivers remarks on the role of industry in transforming the nation's schools. IBM has contributed $35 million to help school systems remove barriers to student achievement.
IBM establishes a computer training center in Bosnia-Herzegovina.