International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM) or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology.
The company was founded in 1911 as the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation through a merger of three companies: the Tabulating Machine Company, the International Time Recording Company, and the Computing Scale Corporation. CTR adopted the name International Business Machines in 1924, using a name previously designated to CTR's subsidiary in Canada and later South America. Its distinctive culture and product branding has given it the nickname Big Blue.
In 2012, Fortune ranked IBM the #2 largest U.S. firm in terms of number of employees (433,362), the #4 largest in terms of market capitalization, the #9 most profitable, and the #19 largest firm in terms of revenue. Globally, the company was ranked the #31 largest in terms of revenue by Forbes for 2011. Other rankings for 2011/2012 include #1 company for leaders (Fortune), #2 best global brand (Interbrand), #1 green company worldwide (Newsweek), #5 most admired company (Fortune), and #18 most innovative company (Fast Company).
IBM holds more patents than any other U.S.-based technology company, and has nine research laboratories worldwide. Its employees have garnered four Nobel Prizes, six Turing Awards, nine National Medals of Technology, and five National Medals of Science. Famous inventions by IBM include the automated teller machine (ATM), the floppy disk, the hard disk drive, the magnetic stripe card, the relational database, the Universal Product Code (UPC), the financial swap, SABRE airline reservation system, DRAM, and Watson artificial intelligence.
The company has undergone several organizational changes since its inception, acquiring companies like SPSS (2009) and PwC consulting (2002), spinning off companies like Lexmark (1991), and selling off product lines like ThinkPad to Lenovo (2005).