Buy Used
$4.55
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by Reddwave
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: UsedVeryGood; PLEASE READ - Nice solid book with some cover and edge wear, clean yellow pages, smooth spine. Tracking number provided.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM Paperback – September 20, 1994


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$32.99 $0.01
Audio, Cassette
"Please retry"
$46.00
Best%20Books%20of%202014
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 377 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (September 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517882213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517882214
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Throughout most of this century, IBM was a golden bulwark of the American economy. Hugely profitable and famously well managed, Big Blue was more than just a company; it was an international institution. But in the late 1980s, the legend unraveled. IBM fumbled an early lead in the personal computer business, with devastating, possibly irreparable consequences. Carroll, who covered IBM for seven years with the Wall Street Journal , breathes drama into this high-tech tale by focusing not on technological minutiae but on the human players, from fabled chairman Tom Watson Jr. to Microsoft wunderkind Bill Gates (who, more than anyone else, authored IBM's undoing). Although somewhat loosely structured, this work is a captivatingly well-reported piece. This is the first major book on an important chapter in American corporate history. Highly recommended.
- A.G. Wright, Harvard Coll. Lib. , Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A savvy newsman's tellingly detailed report on the ruinous decline of IBM. Drawing on a wealth of inside sources, Wall Street Journal correspondent Carroll offers an unsparing account of a commercial juggernaut whose button-down culture, rigid bureaucracy, and complacent executives stifled development projects that could have ensured its dominance of the global computer industry well into the 21st century. In remarkably short order, in-house deficiencies and inroads made by nimbler rivals (Apple, Compaq, Intel, etc.) have reduced an erstwhile pacesetter to the status of a crippled colossus fighting for its very life in an increasingly unforgiving marketplace. As the author makes clear, moreover, Big Blue's downfall has caused widespread pain and harm. In addition to the economic costs borne by dismissed employees, host communities, suppliers, and investors, the US could lose a significant measure of its competitive edge in advanced technologies owing to appreciably lower research budgets at IBM. The principal virtue of Carroll's harsh reckoning is his chapter-and-verse fixing of blame for blunders that have combined to humble a once-mighty enterprise. Among other matters, he recounts how Big Blue (whose hierarchs stubbornly tried to protect the company's flagship franchise in lucrative but obsolescent mainframes) fumbled chances to open insurmountable leads in personal computers, PC software, laser printers, microprocessor chips, and allied products for which demand has proved brisk. Whether IBM's new stewards can plot a course that will let the debt-burdened leviathan regain anything remotely resembling its former eminence, much less profitability, remains a very open question for the author. Among other problems, he notes that layoffs and voluntary departures (spurred by attractive severance packages) have not only diminished but also demoralized the available pool of technical, sales, and management talent. Perceptive perspectives on computer errors of convulsive magnitude. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Especially if you had ANY ties with IBM during these years, you will find this book fascinating.
Phil Sanders
More importantly, especially in today's debate over Microsoft, the book clearly demonstrates why a monopoly is impossible within the high-tech industry.
sargoxyz
It's dated, much like any book about computers that was published about seven years ago is obviously expected to be.
J. K. Kelley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Funk on October 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was published in 1994, but don't hold that against it. It covers a period of IBM history from 1980 to late 1993- from the beginnings of the IBM PC to the end of the John Akers era, when Lou Gerstner became CEO. Gerstner steered the company away from its failing attempts to once again dominate the PC industry, towards services and consulting, and is generally credited with saving IBM from the hole it had dug itself into by the early '90s. If someone were to write this book today, it would likely still wrap things up in 1993.

It starts out with with the story of how the IBM PC came to be, as well as a quick and interesting refresher on IBM itself, from the late 1800s up to 1980. Most people know the general outline of what happened next: the deal with Microsoft for an OS, the phenomenal success of the PC and the XT, the failure of the PC Jr., the rise of the clones, and finally IBM's attempts to reassert itself with OS/2 and MCA (Microchannel Architecture, an ill-fated replacement for the ISA expansion bus used by PCs of the day). This book goes into great detail on all of these topics, from executive decisions down to the engineering teams who were charged with implementing them. I don't know of any other book that gets into this level of detail on this material. It wraps up with the genesis of the PowerPC (a joint venture with Apple and Motorola) and Akers' retirement.

Most computer history books tell this story in a very glossed-over form: IBM was just too big and stupid and arrogant, and scrappy underdogs like Microsoft and Compaq turned the tables on them. This book gets into the nuts and bolts of how and why IBM was unable to keep pace with the PC industry.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By sargoxyz on August 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is more about bureaucracy than IBM. It demonstrates just how difficult it is to remain on-the-ball in the face of rapidly advancing technological innovation. It also provides a rare and wonderful insight into the perpetual battle between the creative individual and the second-rate bureaucrat. If you loved Orwell and Kafka you're gonna roll about the floor with this one. More importantly, especially in today's debate over Microsoft, the book clearly demonstrates why a monopoly is impossible within the high-tech industry. After reading this book you will understand Bill Gates and realize just how vulnerable Microsoft really is.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Kelley on January 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a penetrating and often amusing look at the rise and fall of IBM. It's dated, much like any book about computers that was published about seven years ago is obviously expected to be.
If IBM is doing better now, this book might have had something to do with it. Things like corporate hymnals, the ponderous decisionmaking process, and the reasons for the failure of IBM's PS/2 line are all exposed in humiliating detail. As a former retail sales rep for an IBM dealer from 1988-1990, I can tell you that in that time frame the IBM I saw looked a lot like Carroll's portrayal (and completely turned me off about them). This book is worth a search.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matt on November 7, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
People who complain that this book is unfounded because IBM is growing and profitable forgets that over a decade ago, IBM was a stinker: the bottom had fallen out of the lucrative mainframe market, and IBM could not compete long-term in the rapidly growing PC/Workstation market. This book is a great lesson in how not to adapt to change.
Luckily, IBM has pulled itself out, but at what cost? Imagine if IBM had got the PC revolution right? There might not even be a Microsoft today and IBM could have retaken its position as THE corporate super-power.
Besides discussing poor management, I enjoyed the information and great anecdotes about IBM's relationship with Bill Gates and Microsoft. I cannot believe the number of opportunities IBM squandered to acquire, invest or eliminate Microsoft. It seems that IBM pratically pushed Gates to build Microsoft into the power it is today.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Phil Sanders on July 2, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
I have now read this book twice. Not only have I read the book, I remember this time period as my company worked closely with IBM. One of the other reviewers said, "An amusing book that attributes IBM's success to a couple of lucky business decisions followed by endless blunders. Carroll makes alot of assertions about IBM but provides few facts to back them up..." Obviously, this person either works for IBM or did not know what was going on at that time. What Carroll says is true. Especially if you had ANY ties with IBM during these years, you will find this book fascinating. I have referred back to it many times.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Carter on August 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you love the tech industry, especially tales of the "golden age" of PCs in the 1980s, you will love this book.

If you manage a company (tech or not) that has a commanding market share lead in its space, you should read this book.

This is practically a manual for what not to do when you are a big company in control of a market. Basically:

1) Don't ignore disruptive technologies thinking that you can use your market share/pricing control to slow adoption

2) Don't make long-term promises to your employees or customers: Business moves so fast that you won't be able to keep them and still be competitive

3) Less is always more when it comes to personnel... Most corporations are hopelessly bloated with people, and this fact alone slows the decision-making process

I'm reading "Who says elephants can't dance" next to see how Gerstner fixes the problems. Perhaps there could be an update to this book that covers the Gerstner turnaround era and includes a bit of the Palmisano years?
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?