How IBM Was Left Behind

Mainframe computers were its cash cow. Then the industry changed, and Big Blue was just the leader of an obsolete market. Can it ever recover?

When it comes to dominating an industry, few companies have done so with the overpowering force of International Business Machines. From gigantic mainframes and tiny laptops to semiconductors and software, IBM ruthlessly called the shots for the entire industry after the computer became a commercial item about 40 years ago. So tight was IBM's market grip that it was practically impossible for any computer company to do business without being tied in some way to the Big Blue colossus.

How the mighty have fallen. While most of the industry is enjoying a renaissance, the world's largest computer company is being overwhelmed...

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