Until the early 1980s, International Business Machines Corporation, better known as IBM, continuously ran into anti-trust troubles due to its power over the computer industry. Because they controlled almost 70 percent of the computer market, IBM was considered by many to be a monopoly and a company with excessive powers. In January of 1969, the United States Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit against IBM to break it up into smaller competetive companies. Although this suit was not the only antitrust action against the computer powerhouse between 1960 and 1980, it was the most influential, extending over thirteen years. IBM argued that over a twenty-year period ending when the suit was filed, their share of the revenues of the one hundred top companies in the computer industry went from nearly 60 percent down to 40 percent. Over the six years of the trial, which began in 1975, 974 witnesses were called and 104,400 transcript pages were read. In 1982, the case was dropped by a judgement ruling it "without merit." (Pugh, Building IBM)
Although it never lost any money through judgements, IBM spent tens of millions of dollars annually defending itself. In addition, so as not to give the prosecution any ammunition, IBM was forced to be completely conscious and cautious of all transactions made. Coupling this with some unfortunate product failures, such as the Future System, IBM lost much of it's control over the computer industry. At the same time, many other companies gained ground on IBM and soon overtook it, resulting in a freer computer market where no single group of people had control over direction or distribution. As a result, competition led to lower costs and a surge of progress.
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