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Icons of Progress



It’s hard to remember today that the Internet was just a toddler in the early 1990s. But didn’t launch until 1995, the same year eBay was founded. Amidst all the high-profile ideas and paradigm shifts of the time, IBM took a pragmatic approach to how the Internet could impact modern business transactions.

Early on in the days of the Web, IBM laid out a specific vision for how e-business could transform the world:

  • A bank could build an electronic debit service that would allow customers to shop at virtual stores and have charges automatically deducted from their bank accounts.
  • A university could create an online archive of radiology images, ultrasounds, MRIs and CAT scans, eventually replacing a film library the size of a small theater.
  • A publisher could open a store for books, movies, music and videos on the Internet.
  • A major consumer goods company could manage purchase orders online for an inventory system that could be continually replenished.