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Biographies: OBITUARIES - Thomas John Watson, Jr

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129810D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 2 page(s) / 15K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

IEEE Computer Society: OWNER

Abstract

Biographies: OBITUARIES - Thomas John Watson, Jr. Thomas John Watson, Jr., the tough, demanding, but inspiring leader and intensely competitive business giant who was given control of the IBM Corporation by its founder, his father, and who led it to a domination of the computer industry, died in Greenwich, Connecticut, on December 31, 1993, of complications following a stroke he suffered earlier in the month. He was 79. Tom, as he was always called, was born on January 8. 1914, in Dayton, Ohio, while his 40-year-old father was negotiating for a position as general manager of CTR, a small and unprofitable organization that Thomas Watson, Senior, would build into IBM. On graduation from Brown University in 1937, Tom entered IBM as a privileged and cosseted salesman. When war threatened in 1940, he became a transport pilot in the Army Air Corps, from which he emerged as a lieutenant colonel. In 1945 he returned to IBM as an assistant to the second-in-command under his father, and he was marked to take over the firm. He and his father fought vigorously and brutally on almost every important issue but were in singular agreement on how important it was to convert the IBM punched-card machines from relays to vacuum tubes. But it was Tom who pushed to replace the punched-card equipment itself with computers. When the war in Korea started, Tom supported a few of his more visionary subordinates in a proposal to build the so-called Defense Calculator, IBM's first stored-program computer of the von Neumann design. The name revealed its intended, modest market. His father approved the decision and named it the IBM 701, the first in a line of IBM computers that eventually put the company ahead of Univac. Just before his father died in 1956, Tom ended years of wrangling by signing a consent decree with the US government that restricted IBM's almost monopolistic hold on the punched-card industry, just when its business was rapidly moving toward electronic computers.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1994 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Biographies: OBITUARIES - Thomas John Watson, Jr.

Thomas John Watson, Jr., the tough, demanding, but inspiring leader and intensely competitive business giant who was given control of the IBM Corporation by its founder, his father, and who led it to a domination of the computer industry, died in Greenwich, Connecticut, on December 31, 1993, of complications following a stroke he suffered earlier in the month. He was 79.

Tom, as he was always called, was born on January 8. 1914, in Dayton, Ohio, while his 40- year-old father was negotiating for a position as general manager of CTR, a small and unprofitable organization that Thomas Watson, Senior, would build into IBM. On graduation from Brown University in 1937, Tom entered IBM as a privileged and cosseted salesman. When war threatened in 1940, he became a transport pilot in the Army Air Corps, from which he emerged as a lieutenant colonel. In 1945 he returned to IBM as an assistant to the second-in- command under his father, and he was marked to take over the firm. He and his father fought vigorously and brutally on almost every important issue but were in singular agreement on how important it was to convert the IBM punched-card machines from relays to vacuum tubes. But it was Tom who pushed to replace the punched-card equipment itself with computers. When the war in Korea started, Tom supported a few of his more visionary subordinates in a proposal to build the so-called Defense Calculator, IBM's first stored-program computer of the von Neumann design. The name revealed its intended, modest market. His father approved the decision and named it the IBM 701, the first in a line of IBM computers that eventually put the company ahead of Univac. Just before his father died in 1956, Tom ended years of wrangling by signing a consent decree with the US government that restricted IBM's almost monopolistic hold on the punched-card industry, just when its business was rapidly moving toward electronic computers.

Tom remained as pres...