U.S. Vice President Al Gore announces Blue Pacific - the world's fastest computer - which is jointly developed by the U.S. Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and IBM, can perform 3.9 trillion calculations per second (15,000 times faster than the average desktop computer) and has over 2.6 trillion bytes of memory (80,000 times more than the average PC). It would take a person using a calculator 63,000 years to perform as many calculations as this computer can perform in a single second.
IBM powers the official Nagano Olympic Winter Games Web Site, which registers an unprecedented total of nearly 650 million hits from around the world over the course of the 16-day event. The Guiness Book of Records officially recognizes IBM for setting two world records in Internet traffic on the 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games Web site: "The Most Popular Internet Event Ever Recorded" and, with 110,414 hits, "The Most Hits On An Internet Site in One Minute."
IBM acquires CommQuest Technologies, Inc., a company that designs and markets advanced semiconductors for wireless communications applications, such as cellular phones and satellite communications. CommQuest becomes a unit of IBM's Microelectronics Division.
IBM and AT&T announce in December a series of strategic agreements under which AT&T will acquire IBM's Global Network business for $5 billion in cash, and the two companies will enter into outsourcing agreements with each other. IBM will outsource a significant portion of its networking needs to AT&T, and AT&T will outsource certain applications processing and data center management operations to IBM.
IBM introduces the IBM S/390 - Generation 5 (G5) server, the most powerful S/390 computing system; IBM says the S/390 G5 Parallel Enterprise Server 10-way Turbo model has smashed the 1,000 MIPS barrier, making it the world's most powerful mainframe. The company ships its 1,000th S/390 Parallel Enterprise Server - Generation 5 - less than 100 days after G5 manufacturing began, marking the largest ramp-up in S/390 history.
The U.S. National Weather Service selects IBM to provide an IBM RS/6000 SP - more than 10 times more powerful than the system made famous during Deep Blue's 1997 victory over chess Grand Master Garry Kasparov - to improve the agency's national weather and climate forecasting capabilities.
The AS/400e server 170 and AS/400e server 150 are introduced. During 1998, IBM delivers an AS/400 to a customer every 12 minutes of every workday.
Other 1998 personal system announcements include: the PC 300GL based on the Intel Celeron processor; Aptiva E76, the first model of the Aptiva E Series to be powered by an Intel Pentium II processor; Aptiva E86, the first member of the E Series to feature DVD technology; and the ThinkPad i Series, IBM's first mobile computer line designed exclusively for consumers.
IBM introduces its Home Director Professional solution, providing consumers with an intelligent link between commonly available home systems, such as security, lighting and HVAC systems.
During the year, IBM sets repeated records in hard disk drive storage densities, culminating with a world record drive for notebook computers - holding 14.1 gigabits per square inch, or a trail of paper more than 1,200 miles long. In addition, the Microdrive is introduced as the world's smallest and lightest hard disk drive. With a disk platter the size of a large coin and weighing less than an AA battery, it can hold 340Mb, or the equivalent of 200 standard size floppy disks.
To mark the 100th anniversary of magnetic recording, IBM announces the IBM Deskstar 25GP as the world's highest capacity hard drive for desktop PCs. The first disk drive in 1956 had a capacity of 5 megabytes; the Deskstar 25GP has 5,000 times the capacity of that first drive.
Online sales of IBM products reach $38 million a day.
For the fourth consecutive year, IBM and The All England Lawn Tennis Club collaborate to produce the official Wimbleton Web site, which records over 224 million server hits during the 1998 Championships. The official Web site of the 1998 French Open tennis championships, designed and hosted by IBM, recording 146.9 million server hits during the two-week tournament in June. Then in September, the official 1998 U.S Open Web site, powered by IBM for U.S. Tennis Association, records 382 million hits during the two-week tournament
Other IBM e-business and network computing announcements during 1998 include: the industry's premier system security for conducting business over the Internet encompassing a hardware/software solution integrated with IBM's flagship enterprise operating system, OS/390, and IBM S/390 Parallel Enterprise servers - Generation 3 (G3) and Generation 4 (G4); and Home Page Reader for Windows, a talking Web browser that opens the World Wide Web with spoken Internet access to blind and visually impaired users.
CBS News selects the IBM News Archive Application to manage the entire digital and physical assets of its vast broadcast archive, and the WB Television Network picks IBM to provide an integrated distribution and spot insertion solution for its WeB Division.
Among the other 1998 product announcements are: the T55, the first sub-$1,000 15-inch active matrix Thin Film Transisitor flat panel monitor; the T85 18-inch active matrix Thin Film Transistor flat panel monitor; and the IdeaScan scanner.
IBM delivers the world's first copper-based microprocessors, including a PowerPC 740/750 operating on 400MHz. Microprocessors that incorporate copper wiring boost chip performance by about one-third.
IBM becomes the first company to introduce silicon germanium chip-making technology into mainstream manufacturing, offering the first SiGe-based standard products for use in wireless communications products such as cell phones and pagers. SiGe chips provide high performance and less power consumption with lower cost, helping to usher in new breeds of network appliance devices for personal communication.
IBM Chairman Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., attends CeBit '98 in Hanover, Germany, in March, and provides IBM's first in-depth discussion of deep computing (emerging computer systems that combine ultrafast processing with sophisticated analytical software) and pervasive computing (tiny intelligent processing devices embedded in the global fabric of computing and communications) as important emerging technology trends and the natural extensions of networked computing.
For the sixth year in a row, IBM receives the most U.S. patents - 2,658 - which is 733 more than the number two company and 40 percent more than IBM won last year. IBM becomes the first company ever to break the 2,000 U.S. patent issuance barrier in a single year. IBM now owns more than 30,000 patents worldwide, including 14,000 in the United States. IBM has 2,900 researchers worldwide.
IBM perfects the Silicon-on-Insulator process for building high-speed transistors that enhance chip speed by up to 35 percent and reduce power requirements by up to 66 percent.
IBM researchers demonstrate the world's first experimental CMOS microprocessor that can operate at one billion cycles per second (1GHz).
IBM says that it has become the first international provider of e-business services in China and the company announces major initiatives with China Telecom to jointly develop other technology-based operational solutions for China's telecommunications industry. Two months after that, IBM reports strategic agreements with the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry and key business partners to expand the development and use of e-business solutions, based on IBM's Network Computing Framework and Java technology, in China.
IBM and STMicroelectronics announce a joint effort to accelerate development of advanced system-on-a-chip products.
The company says that it has formed a partnership with Voice Control Systems, Inc., to marry the power of advanced speech recognition with the telephone.
The company reports a $20 million expansion of its operations in China, with the unveiling of a new plant for manufacturing hard disk drive magnetoresistive (MR) heads. The plant willl be operated by the Shenzhen IBM Technology Products Co., Ltd., a new company which is fully-owned by IBM.
U.S. President Bill Clinton presents IBM Chairman Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., with the first Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership in recognition of the company's long-standing commitment to workforce diversity.
IBM announces in August a $1 million investment in Ireland's school system as part of its global Reinventing Education program. Ireland is the first European country to be selected as an IBM Reinventing Education partner. IBM's Reinventing Education initiative - which is recognized in a Harvard Business School case study as a model for corporate philanthropy in education - contributes more than $35 million to 15 school districts and six states in the United States alone, and is expanded in 1998 to include projects in Brazil, Canada, Columbia, India, Ireland, Italy and Vietnam.
IBM and the United Way of America launch the KidSmart Early Learning Program, a project to install computer learning centers in more than 1,000 nonprofit preschool sites across the United States.
As part of its $3.5 million commitment to support the development of Internet2, IBM announces the names of seven higher education institutions that will receive resources through the company's sponsored research program. Donated resources will be in the form of hardware, software, switches and other pieces of network infrastructure critical to Internet2 applications, connections and operation.
IBM establishes a computer training center in Novi Sad, the capital of the northern province Vojvodina, in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to train refugees of the region who lost their homes during the war.