JULY 2, 2007
 (STAR) By Alma Buelva - This month — on July 20 to be exact — IBM Philippines will celebrate its 70th year of doing business and building partnerships in the country. There will be client recognition events, a grand reunion of past and present IBMers, and an Innovation Forum that IBM will hold together with the Department of Science and Technology.

In 1937, Watson Business Corp. was officially incorporated in the country and its key product line consisted of electric accounting machines, electric typewriters and time-recording systems. But the company’s first foray in the Philippines actually took place in 1920 when it was still called Computer-Tabulating-Recording (CTR) Company. In that year, it sold its first tabulating machine in Asia to Pacific Commercial Co. of Manila. It was a historic event that was to be the start of many firsts for IBM here together with its several forward-looking customers in the country.

Overseas, CTR was renamed IBM in 1924, but Watson Business Corp. kept its name until 1946 when it became International Business Machines Corp. of the Philippines.

In the early 50s, IBM began a card manufacturing plant in Manila that peaked its operations in 1963 at one million cards a day. During that time, IBM Philippines scored another first in Asia by installing an IBM 632 Model VII with card input and output at Esso Eastern Standard to handle billing with continuous forms.

The following year, the Mapua Institute of Technology in Manila became the first educational institution in Southeast Asia to use an IBM 1620 data processing system.

Previous to that, the local subsidiary also sold in 1960 the first and only IBM 650 vacuum tube scientific computer that used the random access method of accounting and control to the Bureau of Lands to handle the country’s land survey computations.

It took the company well over three decades to transfer from its early offices in Escolta and UN Avenue in Manila to its own building in Makati in 1968. Another three decades and a few years would pass before IBM Philippines moved again its headquarters to another location at Eastwood Cyberpark in Quezon City, its current home for the last six years.

Today, the local IBM office actively participates in the company’s global programs like the InnovationJam, an online conversation on IBM’s worldwide intranet created to tackle some of the real problems facing IBMers today, through discussion forums designed to inspire and generate innovative ideas and best practices.

Last year, more than 150,000 IBMers, family members, clients and university and business partners, representing 104 countries and 67 companies, came together in InnovationJam. They posted more than 46,000 observations and ideas for translating some of IBM’s most cutting-edge technologies into economic and societal value. As a result, IBM allocated up to $100 million to explore 10 promising new business opportunities in the areas of quick and affordable business computing, 3D Web, real-time language translation services, smart energy systems, management of digital personal content, healthcare data management and smart healthcare payment systems, branchless banking for the masses, traffic system management, and environmental care.

Meanwhile, for a company to last 70 years and counting, one might ask what makes it special? This is actually the question that will be the theme of an essay writing contest for IBMers who have been members of “BlueGenes,” a mailing list of past and present IBMers that started in the Philippines three years ago and has been adopted as among IBM’s global best practices for social networking technology.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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