Corporations: Poor Man's IBM

"If a guy owns 80% of the railroad tracks in a country and you want to run a train, you make your wheels fit his track." So says an executive of a firm that has prospered by learning that simple lesson well: Minneapolis' Control Data Corp., a maker of computers. The track owner of the computer busi ness is mighty IBM, which routinely scoops up 70% of the world's computer orders. By making all its equipment so that it meshes with IBM's systems—and trying to make it better and cheaper—once-tiny Control Data has risen to third place in computers (after...

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