What Is A Company Known as Big Blue? Facts About IBM You Might Not Know

So, you have read or learned about Big Blue and are curious to know what it means, right? A lot of people now wouldn’t know that Big Blue used to be a nickname for the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). 

A lot of people don’t know that IBM stands for International Business Machines either.

For an extended period, IBM used to be a “Cool” provider of mainframe computers. From NASA to Google, we have seen IBM machines being used almost everywhere. And those are not typical regular desktops. Instead, they were as big as vending machines.

The History of “Big Blue”

The inventor of IBM, Herman Hollerith, started it as the ‘Tabulating Machine Company’ in 1896 in New York City. It was renamed in 1911 as the ‘Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company.’

The “Big Blue” moniker is used for the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). You might even wonder why it is named so?

Though, it is essential to know that this nickname has unclear specific origins. But it is usually assumed that this company might have got this name due to its corporate logo or the blue-colored computer displays.

In 1924, the company began to diversify its focus with the US Census Bureau data processing. A year later, they changed their name to International Business Machines Corporation. Throughout its over 100 operational years, IBM has remained one of the leading innovators in technology.

Emergence of Big Blue

If you are a tech-geek, you might have heard the phrase:

“All of those companies (Apple, Google, and Microsoft) have a solid chunk of Big Blue’s DNA coded into their mainframes.”

But have you ever wondered what Big Blue stands here for!? It stands for IBM…

IBM is known for developing and selling a broad spectrum of computer software, hardware, databases, cloud computing platforms, web content management system, cognitive computing, and hosting and consulting services. It is a globally recognized company with a lot of diversity in its industry.

Here are some highlights of IBM’s history that show why IBM is known as Big Blue. And also, some lesser-known interesting facts about IBM that are not discussed very often.

Some Lesser-Known facts about the International Business Machine Corporation (IBM) a.k.a “Big Blue”

IBM has led the foundation and revolutionization of many technologies we use today. The role of IBM traces its fantastic journey from small beginnings to becoming one of the most influential companies in today’s digital era.

 Let’s look at its massive role and the eye-catching inventions and facts in different sectors.

Discoverer of the First Smartphone

Today, you have this thing with you 24/7. But have you ever wondered how it came into existence? However, smartphones got their birth by the well-known IBM company. Earlier, the device’s name was “IBM Simon Personal Communicator .” Originally this device was introduced as a Personal Digital Assistants (PDA).

Later, it gained recognition as a smartphone after considering its futuristic approach and multi-packed features. This device included a calculator, address book, world clock, calendar, and other built-in features.

The Notable Innovations of IBM

Since IBM’s founding, it has inspired a culture of innovation. IBM invented remarkable technologies and devices. In the year 1981, IBM created a time-saving device named computing scale.

At the same time, this device could show the proportionate price and weight of the products.

The company had also broadened its horizon in the computer industry by developing remarkable devices. It had strongly enlightened its innovations from the scanning tunneling microscope and floppy disks to hard disk drives and relational databases to Universal product code and random-access memory. Other inventions by IBM also include the automated teller machine (ATM).

The Chess Engines victory

In 1985, IBM started developing advanced chess engines. “Deep Blue” was the prominent search engine in that period. The chess match was held between Deep blue and the world’s well-known champion named Garry Kasparov. It was essentially a match between a Human Vs. a computer.

what is a company known as big blue

The match gained immense media coverage and continued for several days. In 1997, Deep Blue defeated the renowned champion and changed history.

This invention changed the game’s landscape. A chess engine analysis chess positions and calculates the best options.

Role of IBM in Moon Landing Mission

IBM and Nasa have carried out many missions together. In 1969, IBM played a significant role in helping the famous moon landing mission Apollo 11. IBM streamlined the entire mission for NASA.

From developing the programs and software to developing computers, it managed to be an integral player in the journey.

Introduction of Magnetic Strips in Credit Cards

what is a company known as big blue

Credit cards have been typically available for a long time. Suppose we talk about how data is stored on your card. There IBM’s revolutionary role comes into place. IBM introduced magnetic strip technology.

The magnetic strip, also known as a swipe card, is a thin strip found on the backside of your card. Forest Parry is the man behind this leading innovation. 

This technology boomed as an incredible shift for travelers, consumers, and people’s daily lives. The machine-readable thing then came into the spotlight after this invention.

IBM’s Research and Patents

IBM is known way beyond for its futuristic technologies. In patents and research, they are a leader in innovation. This company has received a record-breaking number of patents at that time. It earned 9262 patents in the year 2019.

They have the most patents of any other company, and they ranked number one in patents per dollar spent. In addition to this, IBM has done extensive research on artificial intelligence, which has led to top AI top solutions for some of the world’s leading brands.

All around the world, IBM has various research labs and researchers for bringing out innovative ideas. It spends enormous money on research and development for new innovative product developments.

 The Booming Supercomputers

IBM has been doing computing since the advent of computers. From the revolutionary IBM System/360 in 1964 to the present-day supercomputers, IBM’s enterprise-class systems have been a cornerstone for innovation and progress in business and society.

IBM technology had played a pivotal role in developing several computers.

Watson is considered one of the most powerful supercomputers. This computer got its name after the IBM founder Thomas J. Watson.

This supercomputer works by combining advanced analytical softwares and artificial intelligence. It is a question-answering system that is capable of answering questions.

Supercomputers are another area where this company excels, and they can be found in major universities and research centers worldwide.

The Green IT movement

IBM was an early trendsetter for an eco-friendly approach in business operations. Though, many companies are realizing its potential today and making a way towards adopting them into their practices. A few decades ago, IBM became the first company to issue corporate policies on environmental affairs.

Driving Forces of Gaming Industry

Have you ever wondered who developed and designed the essential parts of your gaming consoles? IBM has been a driving force behind the latest video games in the gaming industry. They have also been innovating in collaboration with entertainment providers. IBM has been a frontrunner for decades with its AI-driven strategy games.

Massive Role in Banking Industry

In banking, IBM’s Watson is being used to process data and make a more accurate judgment of customer behavior. Many banks have been taking the benefits of the IBM Watson Supercomputers. To serve their customers with accurate cognitive analytics.

Currently, IBM is bringing blockchain technology at the higher-end order use cases that blockchain infrastructure might support. Other than this, IBM also offers various financial and banking solutions worldwide. IBM offers solutions regarding banking and finances all over the world.

Extensive Role in Healthcare Industry

what is a company known as big blue

Any company that has been at the forefront of the healthcare industry is IBM. This company has provided end services in this sector for a long time. It made an eye-catching invention, a continuous blood separator for leukemia patients.

Moreover, it revolutionized the heart-lung machine.It paved the way in making the doctors’ access to the patient’s medical records much more accessible by developing the Anatomic and Symbolic Mapper Engine (ASME). This invention can create a 3D avatar of the human body in real-time.

IBM has also formed a company named IBM Watson Health .’ This company of IBM offers many healthcare services such as identifying patients with beneficial clinical characteristics, managing the care of patients, improvising cancer treatments, speeding medicine discovery, etc.

Furthermore, it transforms the healthcare sector by providing intelligent solutions to enable a more connected healthcare system by empowering people to make better decisions. IBM has been developing new technologies to help people access the healthcare they otherwise couldn’t afford.


Even though the origin of the name “Big Blue” is still unclear, we can at least see why it is BIG. IBM has always played a massive role in the technical development history of this world.

Apart from being an international business technical leader and innovator, IBM also provides some of the world’s most comprehensive and innovative IT solutions to clients across the globe.

As one of the largest companies in the world, IBM has over 350,000 employees positioned in around 175 countries. Its employees have been rewarded immense titles along with Nobel prizes and awards.

IBM is a company with countless achievements. It is continuously aligned with the changing environment focusing on cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI). IBM has been involved in many industries, including banking, health, gaming, patents, and research.

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