IT & Network Infrastructure : IBM at 100: Big Blue`s Top Divestitures and Spinoffs

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-06-09 Email Print this article Print
Known more recently for its acquisitions, IBM also has a reputation for spinning off commodity businesses such as printers, PCs and notebooks and more. The company over the years has made the decision to go after high-value business with its middleware, hardware and services offerings. This list goes from the early 1970s to 2009 and includes some of the interesting partnerships IBM has had with Apple Computer in the early '90s. Among Big Blue's most famous divestitures have been the spinoff of the IBM printer business—which became Lexmark—and the sale of the company's laptop and notebook investments to Lenovo. Lexmark was formed in 1991 when IBM divested its printer and printer supply operations to the investment firm Clayton & Dubilier in a leveraged buyout. Lexmark became a publicly traded company in 1995. Lenovo acquired the former IBM PC Company Division, which marketed the ThinkPad line of notebook PCs, in 2005 for approximately $1.75 billion. IBM was built on big bets, and Big Blue has continued to make calculated wagers on which technologies to keep in its fold and which ones to spin off and yet retain relationships with. Lenovo is a prime example of that. And how many people knew SAP actually came out of IBM? To read a related article click here.


Software giant SAP was born out of IBM in 1972. SAP was founded by five former IBM engineers, and initially was called System Analyse und Programmentwicklung ("System Analysis and Program Development"). The engineers were Dietmar Hopp, Klaus Tschira, Hans-Werner Hector, Hasso Plattner and Claus Wellenreuther. As Xerox exited from the computer industry, Xerox hired IBM to migrate its business systems to IBM technology. Part of IBM's compensation for the migration was Xeroxs DS/SAPE software, reportedly for a contract credit of $80,000. The SAPE software was given by IBM to the founding SAP members in exchange for about 8 percent of founding SAP stock.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel