Business: Chasing the Bouncing Ball

In the shifting world of corporate status symbols, even the humble office typewriter has a place. These days, the machine that secretaries envy is the IBM Selectric, a "single-element" typewriter that replaces the familiar semicircular bank of type keys with a removable bouncing ball of type.* The machine is symbolic of the extraordinary bounce of IBM itself, which has dominated the office typing business for the 15 years since the Selectric was introduced. This year IBM will hold an estimated 65% of the $600 million office electric typewriter market. The company's hegemony has drawn the attention of the Federal Trade Commission's...

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