Fifty years ago Monday, politicians and reporters gathered around in Austin to watch the first IBM typewriter made entirely by Texans come off the assembly line. In 1967, it was a big deal that IBM had opened a plant in sleepy Austin. The company became an early catalyst in the city’s transformation into a hub for technology and innovation.
IBM and its Austin facility evolved in the next few decades, turning from typewriters to computers. The company’s Power line of microprocessors were designed in Austin, and powered not only IBM workstations and supercomputers, but PCs from Apple, and game systems from Microsoft and Nintendo.
Lilly Rockwell, a reporter for the Austin-American Statesman says IBM no longer builds computers in Austin, but the company continues to employ an estimated 6.000 people there, down from a peak of 8,000 in 1990. The company’s Austin workforce includes teams devoted to artificial intelligence, cloud computing, services and design, among others.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.