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Thomas J. Watson

Thomas J. Watson (February 17, 1874 in Campbell, New York - 1956) became General Manager[?] in 1914 and President in 1915 of the CTR Company[?], which later changed its name to IBM, and rescued it from near extinction. Because of this, he is considered to be the founder of IBM.

Prior to that, he worked for NCR in charge of its sales force, until he was convicted for illegal anti-competitive sales practices (e.g. he used to have people sell deliberately faulty cash registers, either second-hand NCR or from competitors; soon after the second-hand NCR or competitors cash register failed, an NCR salesperson would arrive to sell them a brand new NCR cash register). He was sentenced, along with John H. Patterson[?] (the owner of NCR), to 1 years imprisonment. Their conviction was unpopular with the public, due to the efforts of Patterson and Watson to help those affected by the 1913 Dayton, Ohio floods, but efforts to have them pardoned by President Wilson were unsucessful. However, the Court of Appeals overturned the conviction on appeal in 1915, on the grounds that the important defence evidence should have been allowed to be admitted.

He was famous for making his salespeople at both NCR and IBM attend sing-a-longs.

He is well known for his 1943 statement: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers".



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