The rise and fall of IBM Instruments

A business study

by James W Cooper

In the summer of 1978, a group of IBM executives met in Armonk to form the Instrument Systems Task Force and explore IBM’s entry into the chemical analytical instrument business. The IBM PC was not yet even a glimmer in Don Estridge’s eye, and the only well-known personal computers were the Apple II, the Tandy TRS-80 and the Commodore Pet.


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By October, IBM’s Corporate Management Committee had approved the venture and IBM Instruments was soon formed. This book explores and memorializes the rise and successes of IBM Instruments and its eventual demise, only about 6 years after it was announced. To many, this was a shocking failure from one of the greatest computer companies in the world, and it is worth taking some time to examine how the instrument division grew and how it finally was shut down.

It tells the never-before written full story of IBM Instruments and why everyone who worked there misses it.

af-200 wp-200SY
The AF-200 and Bob Johnson The WP-200 sy
NR-80 Cup
Model in front of NR-80 mockup Souvenir cup
CS-9000 FTNMR for Organic Chemists
The CS-9000 Click to download