Appropriation and independence: BTM, burroughs, and IBM at the advent of the computer industry

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Comparisons between the early British and US computer industries invariably have focused on the differential development of the British Tabulating Machine Company (BTM) and IBM. In this article, the author seeks to refocus examination of BTM (and comparisons of it to IBM) within the context of an American competitor somewhat similar in size, customer base, and organizational capabilities in electronics to BTM: Burroughs Corporation. The cases of BTM and Burroughs demonstrate the complexity of coordinating international R&D joint ventures, the struggle to create advanced products in an emerging technology while preserving existing revenue streams, and the cultural and technical hurdles involved in assimilating R & D resources from acquisitions in a rapidly changing technologically based industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6604393
Pages (from-to)5-17
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • BTM
  • British Tabulating Machine Company
  • Burroughs
  • IBM
  • business machinery
  • history of business computing
  • history of computing


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