Ageing computers

 
Published: Sunday 31 January 1993

NOTHING is forever. Not even IBM. International Business Machines, which called the shots in the computer industry worldwide for about half a century, announced sharp cuts in jobs, manufacturing capacity and development spending because of poor fourth-quarter sales. IBM plans to slash its workforce this year by more than 8 per cent -- retrenching around 25,000 employees. The computer giant is expected to post a net loss of about $4.8 billion for 1992 -- the second largest in American corporate history.

And this when other computer manufacturers in the US, including Apple, Sun Microsystems and Compaq, reported huge profits in the same period. IBM's fall is the result of its failure to adapt fast enough to the revolution which has moved computer power from large mainframes to tiny microchip miracles that make today's low-cost desktops as powerful as yesterday's monstrosities.

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