There should be some old successful corps out there.
siemens, hitachi ... etc.
they all keep on evolving etc.
the only common trick should be they all managed to attract the top talents of their neighborhood and good control of internal corruption.
The old adage "no one ever got fired for buying IBM" was true for a long time. In the current age however, they have to compete with the entire world. I congratulate them for 100 years! I do wonder if they are nimble enough to last another 100. As long as they pay attention to the basics: service, value, sales, and market needs they have a fighting chance.
I have great respect for IBM, although their marketing does seem strange at times. Consider how the IBM PC became a Microsoft success story, for instance. A great open architecture design, no question that it's had a huge impact globally, and yet it completely got away from them. Which is what a good open architecture design is meant to do, after all. That's why they call it "open architecture."
My first hands-on experience with IBM products was their 1130 mainframe computer, which we students could run on out own in the computer lab, vs having to leave the deck of cards for the guys in white coats that operated the 360 machine. And then have to trek back to the computer lab later, to read all the error codes!
Clearly managing change is the key to longevity. In many ways IBM is not a single company but rather a sequence of companies that have risen up then slowly receded to rise phoenix-like from the ashes again.
While he speaks of collaboration and competition he does not mention the bully tactics that IBM often employed.
Even some of IBM's "bombs" were pretty innovative. The PC Junior mentioned in the article was the first PC to use a wireless keyboard -- quite impressive for 1984 -- and the on-board color graphics and sound were superior to the standard IBM PC. I was also quite impressed that IBM sent me a free upgraded keyboard to replace the awful chiclet keyboard that came with the early units.
It was a great machine for a EE student on a budget in the mid-80s, particularly after I saved up enough money to buy a 3rd party expansion kit that added a 2nd floppy drive and boosted the memory to 640k.
I made great use of the BASIC cartridge ROM and later found that I could do all my FORTRAN programming assignments at home on my PCjr with the MS FORTRAN compiler (2 floppies), rather than doing punch cards at the computing center on campus.
Congrats to IBM on succeeding for a whole century, and thanks also for one of your greatest flops, the PCjr, which made my BSEE student experience much more productive and enjoyable.
I found the two blogs below interesting (if you haven't read through already):
I think they deserve the Kudos for the sheer longevity as a technology company and how they always been at the forefront of R&D. How many of the so called big companies really invest in R&D like IBM has been doing for decades? IBM learn't it's lesson rather quickly and shed the baggage to forge new businesses and we should appreciate it. Being in business and giving the shareholders and the world better products and services for a 100 years is no mean feat.
Congrats big blue, though no more the blue you once were.