The mainframe computer today has become a dinosaur, dragging IBM through massive losses and eliminating much of its capital. In their heyday, the System 360 and the System 370 and their competitors from Unisys, Sperry, Burroughs, Control Data, GE, and AT&T were powerful giants allowing companies to deal with data in entirely new ways. Because of their massive cost, they could only be sold to large customers. Thomas Watson Jr., Chairman of IBM, said in 1958, "I think there is a world market for about five computers." He was pleasantly surprised to find the market larger, and, more important, expanding. This overwhelming size and cost kept computers separated from the daily operations of a company, used primarily for financial or list-oriented processing, often under the tight control of an MIS department. It was not until the last decade or so that computers really widened their scope and the PC on a secretary's desk could churn out as much data as the System 360 had done two decades before.

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