The make-or-break project kept engineers just out of college working around the clock hunting down bugs. The product had so much buzz that speculators bought up units to resell later for a profit. The company invested so much in development that its future was riding on success.
IBM achieved a computing breakthrough when the Watson supercomputer outperformed humans in game show "Jeopardy," but the company now wants to supercharge its high-end Power servers by tapping into graphics processors for the first time.
The head of IBM's mainframe group is looking to bring mobile and social workloads into the platform in another move that would help the mainframe stay relevant and fend off competition from lower-cost systems.
The mainframe was supposed to go extinct decades ago, but it's abundant in many habitats. Same goes for the PC, which seems to have adapted for survival better than once thought. Both the mainframe and the PC offer evolutionary advantages that newer, more sophisticated species still struggle to match.