Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.

Outlines IBM's focus on network computing - Transcript

"Every now and then, a technology or an idea comes along that is so profound, and so powerful, so universal that its impact changes everything. The printing press. The incandescent light. The automobile. Manned flight. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, the world is changed forever. Now I joined this industry and IBM because I believe that information technology has that potential.

We are at the threshold of the next major phase of computing. It draws upon many of the technologies we've already discussed, but one in particular -- high-speed, high-bandwidth networking -- which is why we refer to it as network-centric computing. Now, this term doesn't exactly roll off your tongue, but it isn't important what we call it. It is important what it will do for people: for individual consumers, for institutions and businesses around the world… and all of us.

The skills and technologies of the PC-centric, piece-part phase are not the important assets needed in network-centric computing. What is important? Complex network management, systems management, heavy transaction processing, massive databases, powerful scalable servers, systems integration. Now, let me think… what company knows how to do all that? Obviously, we think many of these requirements play to IBM's strengths… and they open doors for many other companies in our industry… and for an entirely new breed of competitors, some of them already on the scene… and others are probably just getting started in some garage somewhere.

I think we will make our visions reality. I think that as stewards of our industry, we will step up to the challenges of social responsibility. We will improve the world, and the way we work, the way we communicate, live and learn as people. That's why as much as I've talked to you today about various phases of computing, I also wanted to emphasize that we must now pass into a new phase as an industry. We have grown, we have innovated, and we have prospered at a rate unsurpassed by any other. It's been an amazing, breathtaking ride. It can continue -- and accelerate -- if we remember that our future rests on how well we respond to the total needs of society and of our customers all around the world.

Thank you, and I hope you have a great day at Comdex."