What does IBM do?

We bring together all the necessary technology and services, regardless of where those solutions come from, to help clients solve the most pressing business problems.


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Provides trusted partnership to clients in their journey to digital transformation.


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Enables clients to leverage the full power of hybrid cloud and AI, with strong demand for open source innovation.

Red Hat

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Red Hat

Unlocks greater velocity for clients to increase productivity, reduce costs and improve business outcomes.


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Delivers the storage, servers and mainframe systems that build hybrid cloud foundations.


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Pulls together the partners (and even competitors) who add critical value to solutions so clients can be successful.

Iconic moments in IBM history


An engineer holds a 2nm chip plate

2021: The world's first 2-nanometer chip

With 50 billion transistors on a fingernail-sized chip, the most dense to date, this innovation holds the potential for greener data centers and safer autonomous vehicles.


The IBM Q quantum computer

2019: IBM Q brings quantum to the masses

IBM unveils the first circuit-based commercial quantum computer, allowing users, researchers and developers to explore the potential of quantum to solve real-world problems.


The Summit Supercomputer

2018: The Summit of supercomputing

The Summit supercomputer, with a new computing architecture purpose-built for AI, reaches speeds of 200 petaflops, becoming the most powerful processor on the planet.


Watson on the television show, Jeopardy!

2011: First AI to understand fluid language

In an unprecedented demonstration of natural speech recognition and cognitive computing, IBM Watson defeats the champions of the TV quiz show Jeopardy!.


Developers sit with a computer displaying the Deep Blue chess program

1997: AI defeats a reigning chess champion

IBM Deep Blue supercomputer defeats the best chess player in the world. Thinking computers take a giant leap forward toward the kind of AI that we know and use today.


Atoms arranged to spell IBM

1986: Scanning tunnel microscope wins the Nobel Prize

IBM scientists win the Nobel Prize for the scanning tunnel microscope. The impact on microelectronics and nanotechnology is global.


The IBM Personal Computer

1981: Introducing the IBM PC

The PC revolution begins. With the IBM Personal Computer, computing goes mainstream, beyond hobbyists and into the realm of common household commodity.


A human hair with the letters IBM engraved onto it

1980: IBM patents LASIK surgery

Using a laser so precise it can write on a human hair, IBM earns the first patent for LASIK surgery. More than 30 million people will enjoy improved vision.


Early UPC barcode diagram

1973: The UPC bar code

Supermarkets start scanning UPC bar codes invented by IBMer Norman Woodland. The retail industry is transformed, with UPC codes tracking everything from clothing to cows.


Hands taking a floppy disc out of its sleeve

1971: The world’s first floppy disc

One of the industry’s most influential products ever, the IBM floppy disc makes storage powerful, affordable and portable. Over 5 billion units will sell.


The first magnetic strip prototype

1970: Charge it — the magnetic swipe strip

IBM’s inception of the magnetic swipe strip changes the way commercial transactions are enacted. An entirely new industry is born, revolutionizing travel and security access.


Nasa scientists work on the lunar module

1969: The first men on the moon

In an epic feat of engineering, IBM builds the computers and software for the Apollo missions, landing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon and guiding them back to Earth.


Airport operators using computers

1962: SABRE: the genesis of eCommerce

IBM and American Airlines launch the first computer-driven airline reservation system. This is the precursor for all eCommerce today, from eBay to Amazon.


William C. Dersch demonstrates Shoebox

1961: The birth of speech recognition

William C. Dersch demonstrates speech recognition at the World’s Fair. The Shoebox machine converts sounds to electrical impulses, paving the way for Siri, Alexa and Watson AI.


FORTRAN manual cover

1957: 60+ years of FORTRAN

Possibly the most influential software product in history, FORTRAN liberates computers from the exclusivity of programmers and opens them to users worldwide.


Arthur L. Samuel with the IBM 704

1956: AI before AI

Arthur L. Samuel programs an IBM 704 to play checkers and learn from its experience. It is considered the first demonstration of artificial intelligence.


Heart and lung machine

1953: The first heart and lung machine

A heart-lung machine built by IBM enables the world’s first successful open-heart surgery on a human. Millions of lives will be saved each year by this technology.


IBM digital storage units

1952: The inception of digital storage

IBM introduces the world to digital storage via magnetic tape data, marking the transition from punched-card calculators to electronic computers.


1936 Advertisement for the social security system

1936: Social Security, made possible by IBM

IBM works with the government on the US Social Security Act of 1935, tabulating employment records for 26 million Americans — the largest accounting project of its time.


Hands holding a stack of punch cards

1928: The punch card and the US Census

IBM punch cards become the industry standard for the next 50 years, holding nearly all of the world’s known information and enabling large-scale projects like the US Census.

Frequently asked questions

What does IBM do today?

IBM integrates technology and expertise, providing infrastructure, software (including market-leading Red Hat) and consulting services for clients as they pursue the digital transformation of the world’s mission-critical businesses.

Does IBM have goals for sustainability?

In 2021, we furthered our tradition of leadership in sustainability, announcing a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 across all the countries in which we operate. Our data-driven sustainability solutions are helping clients turn ambition into action.

What is the future for IBM?

IBM is always on the hunt for what’s next. Learn more about the group of more than 3,000 scientists and researchers around the globe who deeply believe in the power of the scientific method to invent at IBM Research. For example, we are leading the charge in quantum computing.

What is IBM’s view of the future of work?

One area of interest for IBM is in personal digital employees, or digeys, AI-powered workers who can relieve employees of their most repetitive, mundane tasks. Learn more about Watson Orchestrate. We believe intelligent automation solutions will help businesses improve workflows, integrate systems and gain insights into operations. Learn more at IBM Automation.

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