International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) and was renamed "International Business Machines" in 1924. IBM is incorporated in New York.
- Recently, IBM's role as a willing accomplice in the mass murders of Gypsies — and indeed, the larger question of its Swiss operation — has come back to haunt the technology company. Big Blue has refused to answer the charges since the first simultaneous disclosures in 40 countries on February 11, 2001, that IBM knowingly systemized Hitler's persecution and extermination of Europe's Jews, directly from New York and through its subsidiaries in Europe coordinated through the Swiss office. But on June 22, a Swiss appellate Court ruled that a compensation suit filed by the Gypsy (Roma) (Roma) International Recognition and Compensation Action could proceed.
"The precision, speed and reliability of IBM's machines," the Swiss judge ruled, "especially related to the censuses of the German population and racial biology by the Nazis, were praised in the publications of Dehomag itself, the branch of respondent IBM. It does not thus seem unreasonable to deduce that IBM's technical assistance facilitated the tasks of the Nazis in the commission of their crimes against humanity, acts also involving accountancy and classification by IBM machines and utilized in the concentration camps themselves."
The judge's ruling pointedly added: "In view of the preceding, IBM's complicity with material and intellectual assistance in the criminal acts of the Nazis during the Second World War by means of its Geneva establishment does not appear to be ruled out, as there is a great deal of evidence indicating that the Geneva establishment was aware that it was aiding and supporting these acts."
- IBM has consistently refused to allow access to its Swiss office files, its Polish files, its Romanian files or its Vichy files, which include spare-part shipments to the Third Reich. However, in 1999, History Associates, a Rockville, Md.-based corporate archival service, announced its newest project in a client newsletter: "IBM Corporation: processing 8,500 cubic feet of archival materials from the origins of the company up through the 1990s." The notation follows an article headlined: "American Corporations Research Ties With World War II-Era European Subsidiaries." Records measuring 8,500 cubic feet would fill a small warehouse twenty feet long, twenty feet wide and more than 21 feet tall with thousands of file boxes. But the 8,500 cubic feet reflect only the American holdings, and not the many thousands of boxes held overseas.
IBM's explanation? "We're a technology company, not historians," spokesman Carol Malkovich told media outlets throughout 2002.
When IBM's director of worldwide media relations, John Bukovinsky, was asked about the disclosures in 2001 and 2002 of the company's involvement in facilitating the extermination of millions of Jews, Gypsies and others, he replied, "That was six years ago [sic]." When a reporter pointed out that the Holocaust itself was some 60 years ago, Bukovinsky quipped, "So what. What is the point?"
- Fighting for your convictions can be a lonely business. But it's my observation that the people who get ahead in IBM are the ones who are willing to do just that. (1973)
- The author convincingly shows the relentless efforts made by IBM to maximize profit by selling its machines and its punch cards to a country whose criminal record would soon be widely recognized. Indeed, Black demonstrates with great precision that the godlike owner of the corporation, Thomas Watson, was impervious to the moral dimension of his dealings with Hitler's Germany and for years even had a soft spot for the Nazi regime.
- Saul Friedlander, "Was IBM good for the Jews?", Los Angeles Times, (May 20, 2001).
- All successful companies have good strategies. They all have good processes. They reward people for the right things. For the companies that truly break through, it comes down to their people. For us, it's not a question of talent. We have the best people in the industry. I knew that before I came to IBM, and I know it today, But are our people going to stretch to their potential - step up and lead? That's the real issue for IBM. What's really important is the personal commitment that each of us makes about how we're going to behave, how much we care, how much we're willing to give, how much we're willing to learn and adapt, what we think about every day that drives what we do operationally. It comes back to win, execute and team. Those are not slogans or even institutional values. They are personal commitments. They're not things of the head, they're things of the heart and the gut. They are behavioral, not intellectual. You do not get up every morning and salute them. You get up every morning and live them. We have completed, for the most part, the task of restructuring the institution. Our success now is going to be a function of personal behavior - the behavior of each and every one of us. (1998)
- Around the time that IBM introduced the PC, a catch phrase in the industry was "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."
- "The PC - Personal Computing Comes of Age", Ibm.com (via the Internet Archive), retrieved 25 July 2017.
- We encourage frankness in IBM; we encourage everyone to speak out. Let's make it a daily habit. (1972)
- In recent years, there has been a widespread and growing public concern about the need to protect the individual's right to privacy. It is my belief that few issues will prove to be of greater significance to IBM. ... I am determined that we in IBM practice internally what we propose externally for out customers and the society generally. Accordingly, last year I asked for an intensive examination of our personnel practices to make sure that we are doing everything possible to protect the privacy of our own employees. That is a complex effort but it has been a fruitful one. While not complete, it has taken us a long way toward my personal goal of establishing IBM as the leader in employee privacy. (1974)
- I know that IBMers everywhere are working harder than ever to meet heavy customer demand. But none of us is so important that our job and the company can't get along without us once in a while. The employee who chronically delays a vacation is not doing himself or anybody any good. He may be unknowingly tampering with his own health and well-being; and he is shortchanging his family. .... It's not how many miles you travel that matters. What counts is the distance you put between yourself and that daily routine. (1979)
- There are many things I would like IBM to be known for, but no matter how big we become, I want this company to be known as the company which has the greatest respect for the individual. (1957)
- We believe in the importance of the individual in IBM and we'll never forget it. We think it's more important than the most fantastic electronic product that we could ever invent. (1957)
- Failure to delegate is the biggest single obstacle to job performance in IBM. (1959)
- The employee relations of this company were founded long ago upon the Golden Rule and we expect all of our managers in working with their people to start with this fundamental. In keeping with this, we will continue to be sensitive to any personal problem which may temporarily affect an employee's performance. (1960)
- The pursuit of perfection means not just enthusiasm for doing a topnotch job in important things, it means attention to detail and an itch to innovate and improve in whatever we have to do. It means to be dissatisfied with the status quo. ... We ought to know precisely why a given job is done in a particular way, and why it is done at all, and why it can't be done more effectively, if it must be done at all. This is the attitude that built our modern industrial society. It is the attitude that built IBM. I hope we never lose it. (1962)
- Kierkegaard drew his point -- you can make wild ducks tame, but you can never make tame ducks wild again. One might also add that the duck who is tamed will never do anywhere any more. We are convinced that any business model needs its wild ducks. And in IBM we try not to tame them. (1963)
- We accept out responsibilities as a corporate citizen in community, national and world affairs; we serve our interests best when we serve the public interest. We believe that the immediate and long-term public interest is best served in a system of competing enterprises. Therefore, we believe we should compete vigorously, but in a spirit of fair play, with respect to our competitors, and with respect for the law. In communities where IBM facilities are located, we do our utmost to create an environment in which people want to work and live. We agknowledge our obligation as a business to help improve the quality of the society we are part of. We want to be in the forefront of those companies which are working to make the world a better place. (1969)