IBM: Should Floppy Disks & ‘Modern’ ATM Really Be Its Abiding Legacy.

hursley_site_detail.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail

by Anura Guruge

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During this week there has been quite an interest in my “IBM Layoff” posts. So this morning, while having coffee in bed, I did a Google, on my Android Pad, on “IBM layoffs UK”, since I was particularly interested in seeing whether there had been any cuts at my old IBM location, Hursley Laboratories (in the U.K.). I saw an entry for a U.K. Daily Mail (my favorite newspaper) article on “The Biggest Corporate Lay-off In History“. (See Below). Clicked on it. Then saw this ‘sidebar’ that said, “IBM: The Company Behind The Floppy Disk and First Modern ATM”.

Click to ENLARGE and read.

Click here to access the original, complete article.


Those would NOT have been my choices IF I had been asked as to what IBM should be famous for — and I am a bit of an IBM buff.

Yes, I like many others would have immediately blurted out “S/360” — which celebrated its 50th anniversary, duly commemorated here (multiple times). But that probably wasn’t the right way to present that. What the S/360 was the first commercially significant and successful general purpose computer for corporations. And that is a mouthful. Remember we had the BUNCH — Burroughs, Univac, NCR, CDC and Honeywell.

Oh! IBM is not even CLOSE in terms of the modern ATM! Check this history …

Floppy disks are correct and that was the year that I joined IBM. Plus floppy disks were what inspired me to develop this, the basis for today’s serial number based software activation schemes. 

I am going to have to think about this, i.e., IBM’s abiding legacy in terms of just two inventions.

I have some ideas: synchronous communications (and we won’t have the Internet without that), FORTRAN etc.

But I think the key one has to be: Virtual Storage (VS).

You would not be using any kind of computer today IF not for VS, and I think that makes it more pivotal than floppy disks or ATMs.

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