This month sees the 75th anniversary of one of the cornerstones in the IT industry and it's name is neither Apple nor Microsoft. In 1935 the Fuji Tsushinki Manufacturing Corporation was founded in Japan, although you will probably know it better by the name it adopted later: Fujitsu.
Quite apart from the fact that it is nothing short of remarkable for an IT company to be hitting a 75 year milestone anniversary, and without wishing to sound too much like the new Fujitsu marketing manager, this is a birthday worth celebrating thanks to a number of breakthroughs and innovations which most of us have either forgotten about or were never aware of in the first place. From the early days of telephone switching in the 1930s; the mainframe and parallel computing generation of the 1970s, to newer inventions such as palm vein authentication and perhaps most recently the world's first 3D PC, Fujitsu are one of the unsung heroes of the technology business.
Commenting on the 75 anniversary, Fujitsu UK and Ireland CEO, Roger Gilbert, says: "Companies with as long a history as Fujitsu inevitably change in shape and focus over the years. We're entering a new chapter of our history as the world changes in the way that technology is adopted and used by the masses, both in the developed and developing worlds. The unprecedented challenges that organisations are facing in today's economy mean that IT is finally being recognised as a driving force in helping businesses overcome some of those challenges".
Globally the company is ranked by Gartner as the worlds third largest IT services provider based on total revenue; employs 170,000 people worldwide; is present in 70 countries, and reported revenues of 4.6 trillion yen ($50bn) in the financial year ending 31 March 2010. But if you were to ask the majority of people to name the three companies which have contributed the most to the development of the IT industry over the years and I wager Fujitsu will not even be in the reserve list, and it's Apple, IBM and Microsoft that are likely to be rolling off the tongue. So let's take a look at just how Fujitsu have innovated over the last 75 years:1935 – The Step-by-Step telephone switching machine
1945 – The Fuji Model-3 telephone
1954 – The Facom-100 mainframe computer
1974 – The ICL 2900 series mainframe (ICL)
1979 – The ICL Distributed Array Processor, the world's first parallel computer (ICL)
1980 – The Oays 100 first Japanese language word processor
1989 – Colour plasma displays
2003 – Palm Vein authentication
2010 – The world's first 3D PC
Looking to the future, global Fujitsu CTO Marc Silvester says: "IT in the future at all levels will not be a finished product. The future is about a living, breathing IT infrastructure where change is going to become much more rapid and predictable. IT will be built for change rather than have change done to it".
Happy birthday Fujitsu, here's hoping the next 75 years are just as productive.