The Community for Technology Leaders
RSS Icon
Subscribe
Issue No.04 - Oct.-Dec. (2013 vol.35)
pp: 5-17
Jeffrey R. Yost , Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
ABSTRACT
Comparisons between the early British and US computer industries invariably have focused on the differential development of the British Tabulating Machine Company (BTM) and IBM. In this article, the author seeks to refocus examination of BTM (and comparisons of it to IBM) within the context of an American competitor somewhat similar in size, customer base, and organizational capabilities in electronics to BTM: Burroughs Corporation. The cases of BTM and Burroughs demonstrate the complexity of coordinating international R&D joint ventures, the struggle to create advanced products in an emerging technology while preserving existing revenue streams, and the cultural and technical hurdles involved in assimilating R&D resources from acquisitions in a rapidly changing technologically based industry.
INDEX TERMS
research and development, cultural aspects, DP industry, organisational aspects, technologically based industry, BTM, British Tabulating Machine Company, IBM, US computer industries, British computer industries, United States, customer base, industry size, organizational capabilities, Burroughs Corporation, international R and D joint ventures, research and development, revenue streams, emerging technology, cultural hurdles, technical hurdles, Business, Companies, Consumer electronics, Marketing and sales, Computer industry, business machinery, Business, Companies, Consumer electronics, Marketing and sales, Computer industry, history of business computing, history of computing, IBM, British Tabulating Machine Company, BTM, Burroughs
CITATION
Jeffrey R. Yost, "Appropriation and Independence: BTM,Burroughs, and IBM at the Advent of the Computer Industry", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.35, no. 4, pp. 5-17, Oct.-Dec. 2013, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2013.32
REFERENCES
1. M. Campbell-Kelly, ICL: A Business and Technical History, Claredon, 1989; J. Hendry, Innovating for Failure: Government Policy and the Early British Computer Industry, MIT Press, 1989; and S. Usselman, “IBM and Its Imitators: Organizational Capabilities and the Emergence of the International Computer Industry,” Business and Economic History, vol. 22, no. 2, 1993, pp. 1-35.
2. A number of works juxtapose characterizations of BTM's missed opportunities and failings with IBM's continuing success. See Hendry, Innovating for Failure: Government Policy and the Early British Computer Industry; Campbell-Kelly, ICL: A Business and Technical History; and Usselman, “IBM and Its Imitators: Organizational Capabilities and the Emergence of the International Computer Industry.” In the title of Hendry's book and the text of Usselman's article, the term “failure” is used to describe the early British computer industry. K. Flamm, and M. Bowles, stress cultural-based national differences as important factors in the British lag in computer development and differential analyzers from 1930 to 1945, respectively. Flamm, Creating the Computer: Government, Industry, and High Technology, Brookings Inst., 1988; and M.D. Bowles, “US Technological Enthusiasm and British Technological Skepticism in the Age of the Analog Brain,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 18, no. 4, 1996, pp. 5-15.
555 ms
(Ver 2.0)

Marketing Automation Platform Marketing Automation Tool