Christie's auction and other computer history events

From: James E Cosper <>
Date: Thu Feb 17 23:41:08 2005

William Donzelli Wrote:
>A previous poster mention IBM being the driving force. I don't think
>so. According to the MIT book, in the late 1950s, when IBM was not yet the
>dominant figure in the computer business (in the US, anyway, it was
>still a free for all until 1960 or so), they did
>manage to really roll over everyone in Europe. Why did IBM gain this
>dominance in Europe a few years before they gained it in the US? What was
>the difference? That is perhaps my question.
I recently read a book about IBM's Involvement with Germany during WWII:
IBM and the Holocaust - The Strategic Alliance between nazi Germany and
America's most powerful corporation. By Edwin Black Copyright 2001
ISBN: 0-609-60799-5
Basically it's saying that IBM had contracts with the US Gov for
advanced computing equipment during the war.
That they leased the same or similar equipment to Germany, and to each
country that Germany took over, specifically for doing the Census, Banking,
controlling industrial inventory and computing train schedules. (This
equipment stayed in place after the war).
That the combined need's for this equipment was on the order of 1000's of
machines and a great deal of inovation was bought and paid for during the
IBM was not concerned about the equipment being 'stolen' so much because
all the punch cards were produced in the US and exported. (Reminds me of
printer ink cartridges). "In the manufacture of cards, special machinery
is needed. No one but an IBM affiliate can make IBM cards because in Germany
the contracts contain a clause that the German customer cannot use cards
except those of IBM manufacture...".
I don't necessarily say that all the information is accurate, but it's a
good read, and gives some insight into the IBM Business practices during
the war.
Another good book is The Puzzle Palace By James Bamford Copyright 1982
ISBN: 0-14-00-6748-5 It covers the influence that the gov has had on
computer and communications inovation.
(Not trying to start or add fuel to a flame war).
Received on Thu Feb 17 2005 - 23:41:08 GMT

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