Issue No. 02 - Summer (1995 vol. 17)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/85.380271
<p>In the middle 1960s IBM responded to pressure from its most prestigious customers to hasten the development and availability of computer time-sharing systems. When MIT and Bell Laboratories chose General Electric computers for their new time-sharing system, IBM management feared that the “prestige luster” of these customers would lead other customers to demand the same capabilities and that there would be a “snow-balling” effect as more customers rejected IBM computers. IBM worked on a time-sharing product and brought it to market by the end of the decade despite greater-than-expected costs. Meanwhile MIT, Bell Laboratories, and GE worked together on a new time-sharing system known as Multics.</p><p>By examining IBM’s role in and response to the development of time-sharing, this article illustrates the nontechnological criteria that even high-technology companies use to decide what products to develop and market.</p>
J. E. O'Neill, "'Prestige Luster' and 'Snow-Balling Effects': IBM's Development of Computer Time-Sharing," in IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 17, no. , pp. 50-54, 1995.