Whose Idea Was It,
IBM didn't plunge into computing because it foresaw the future of the computer. Instead, this was a defensive action, designed, at the least, to protect IBM's dominance of office machinery should these new computers catch on. If they did catch on, they would be a way for IBM to diversify beyond its punch-card machines.
When he took over in 1924, Thomas Watson Sr. had set the company, which had grown out of Herman Hollerith's punch-card business, on a crusade to dominate every line of office machine. After the slight by Howard Aiken at the Mark I inauguration, and the failed attempt to hire Eckert and Mauchly in 1946, Watson recruited Wallace Eckert, a Columbia University electronics expert (and no relation to Presper), and established the Watson Computer Laboratory at Columbia. Electronic components were seeping into