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Making the World Work Better: The Ideas That Shaped a Century and a Company by Jeffrey O’Brien, Steve Hamm, Kevin Maney

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Connecting

When people, computers and devices interconnect, computing’s impact is multiplied exponentially.

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In the 1980s—long before the spread of e-mail or instant messaging, web forums or social networks—IBM’s Professional Office System, or PROFS, served as the business world’s most advanced form of networked communications. It allowed IBMers (and the employees of many IBM clients) to chat, keep their calendars, send messages and manage everything from accounting to personnel records.

In the 1930s, inventor Walter Lemmon put together a little company called Radio Industries Corporation. Lemmon was researching ways to connect two electric typewriters ...

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