IBM President John R. Opel became CEO in 1981.  His company was one of the largest in the world and that year it accounted for 62% of the large computer market.  While often relocated employees and families were still joking that IBM represented “I`ve Been Moved” and acquisition employees feared that hordes of IBM officials would enter their rather casual offices, IBM no longer needed white shirts for male employees who were still wearing conservative suits when they met customers. Former employees such as Gene Amdahl took advantage of their training to create and manage many competitors and suppliers.  On April 7, 1964, IBM introduced the revolutionary/360 system, the first large “family” of computers using interchangeable software and devices, an abandonment of IBM`s range of incompatible machines, each designed to meet specific customer requirements.  The idea of a multi-purpose machine was then considered a game of chance.  However, in the long run, access to advanced research on digital computers under military auspices has been more valuable to IBM than the benefits of government projects. BUT IBM failed to gain an even more dominant role in the emerging industry by allowing RAND Corporation to take on the task of programming new computers because, according to project participant Robert P. Crago, “we couldn`t imagine where we could host two thousand programmers at IBM if this work were ever completed, which shows how well we understood the future at the time.”  IBM would use its experience in designing massive, integrated real-time networks with SAGE to design its highly successful SABRE reservation system. In 1952, IBM began working with MIT`s Lincoln Laboratory to design an air defense computer. The fusion of academic and economic cultures proved laborious, but the two organizations finally launched a project until the summer of 1953 and IBM was commissioned in September to build two prototypes.
In 1954, IBM was designated as the principal contractor for THE computer equipment for the development of SAGE for the United States Air Force. Thanks to this massive computer and communication system, IBM gained access to groundbreaking research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the first real-time digital computer. These include working on many other advances in computer technology, such as central magnetic storage, a real-time operating system, integrated video display, light guns, the first effective algebraic computing language, analog and digital analog analogue conversion techniques, digital data transmission via telephone lines, duplexing, multi-processing and distributed geographic networks. IBM built fifty-six SAGE computers for $30 million each and spent more than 7,000 employees (20% of the workforce at the time) on this project at the height of the project.