The obits for John Opel are crediting him with the personal computer, hardly so. Lest this board forget, it was Don Estridge and a renegade team of techs who cut themselves off from the vaunted IBM PROCESSESS of Armonk, occupied a small building in Boca Raton, Florida and built the original PC out of stone knives and bearskins, to paraphrase Spock. And it was Armonk who gave licensing rights for DOS over to a young Bill Gates, thereby surrending all future control of the system forever more. It was Armonk who tried OS/2 for god knows how many years until Windows 3.1 crushed it and thereafter took off.
Opel had very little to do with the 5150 system. But people forget Estridge. I don't.
The infamous GE board is a total joke ,, true
maybe that's because GE is a joke .. talk about corporate
bumbling ... Welsh ruined that company and Immelt is a
buffoon .... too bad because that could have been one
terrific company today , but they have so much baggage ,
i don't know if they will ever be more than what they are
today ... garce
yes .. but IBM had so much money coming , it was sinful ..
they could well afford to be stupid ... the strategies
were terrific .. but the tactics defied logic ..
what about one of the GM's at EF ... looked out of his
window and couldn't see the flag ... so , he ordered that
it be moved .. thing was is was set in an 11 ton block of
concrete .. rather than cut off the pole and set a new
one , they moved it !!!! smart ?? nope , but IBM could afford
that kind of thing ...
What about the Manassas Plant ... build a new building , then
doze it under because they had nothing to do with .. that
entire site never had a mission, save a brief time when
there was a sister packaging line there for maybe 2 year s..
OR .. what about that famous PC place ?? Boca Raton .. just
before they shut that down , there was a hiring binge ..
dozens , maybe hundreds of people who had less than
90 days with the company were let go with severance packages
around 50K !!! and the company still made tons of profit ...
early 70's they sank $1 BILLION into a new, automated wafer
line , the recession of 74 hit and the whole thing was
scrapped before they even turned it on ...
how many times did i see techs have to travel to a vendor
to turn on a newly built tool , so that it could be scrapped
before shipment ????
yes .. these things and many many more were STOOOOOPID .. but
ever see those cartoons of business magnates in the 20's
lighting cigars with $100 bills ??? stupid for sure , but
they could afford too ..
IBM , with it's policies , however , had become hopelessly
inbred , and developed very poor practices , while some
more nimble companies came along to eat their lunch ...
read .. servers ... IBM was late to that game , but innovation was not the watchword in those days ........
still , very few companies have come close to making the
kind of money that IBM has over the last century ..
it's not our Daddy's IBM .. no doubt .. this thing is
a juggernaut ... later .. garce
IBM ran the PC division at a loss or barely breakeven ..
on purpose ...
they were not all that interested in being a PC company ...
they needed to be able to offer pc's to get those nice
juicy orders for $6 million chunks of iron ...
also OPEL was on one of the last Toads to have the corner
office .. Akers was the fall guy and Lou had to teach the
company how to run like a business ..
Sam did a great job and i expect that Ginny will follow
did you know that IBM made prototype hand calculators ??
and WATCHES ??? decisions were made not to enter those
why ?? because they were consumer markets .. IBM has never
been interested in consumer markets ... businesses only ...
also .. back in the day ... IBM had to literally burn
money to prevent the Justice Dept from breaking them up
for being a monopoly ... and they also stayed away from
some markets for the same reason ..
A discussion of history is a useful endevour, considering the other garbage that shows up on these boards. The infamous GE board is a total joke. IBM should in particular remember it's brain dead past.
Estridge was terrific. Unbelievable that both he and his wife died in a plane crash. Also unbelievable that a bunch of fools at IBM gave away rights to the operating system and turned a clown like Bill Gates into the world's richest person.
Okay ... yahoo deleted my reply , i used a bad word ....
John Opel just happened to be at the helm at the time the
PC's were released ..
somebody mentioned Boca Raton as being the birthplace .. i take
exception to that .. IBM had pc's way back in the early 70's
maybe even the 60's .. at that time they were just sandbox
IBM never had an intention of getting into the PC market,
as it was viewed as a "consumer product" .. IBM only
has and does deal with businesses and solutions for same ...
decision to further develope / market pc's was based on the
fact that IBM needed to offer pc's to corporate customers
in order to sell big iron and give them a vertical integration ..
ON THE matter of the O/S ... reach back in the memory banks
and recall that 10 year anti-trust battle with Xerox , not
to mention being under the Justice Dept microscope for anything that smacked of anti trust ....
had IBM pursued O/S2 .. they probably would have been back
in court and may have lost a lot , or be told to breakup ,
hence .. they allowed Gates to have that ball of wax ..
A relative of mine's father in law was a corp lawyer and
he told me that back in those days , IBM used to give away
crown jewels , and the execs had to manage things down ,
to avoid the breakup bogeyman from the Justice Dept ..
a real shame ..
things are different now and Big Blue is on a roll ..
later .. garce
We should also remember the AT system, still the core of every desktop system in production today. IBM had a double winner there, Estridge lost some control over it as IBM wanted to take it back into the process control. BUT THEN came in the PS/2 system, the AT was killed off (except in South America) and that was it for the PC division ever thereafter.
Development of the AS/400 in Minnesota took some of the same guts as Estridge did with the first pc. Also a superlative product.