DEFINITION of 'Big Blue'

A slang term sometimes used to refer to International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). According to the IBM website, the term did not originate from within the company. Rather, the term first appeared in the media in the 1980s. The company site speculates that the term may have been derived from the blue user manuals that came with certain IBM products. Another theory is that the term simply refers to the company's blue logo.


According to Fortune, IBM was the 20th largest firm in the United States in 2010, during which the company had approximately 400,000 employees. The company is also noted for its distinctive culture, including a formal dress code that was only relaxed in the early 1990s. Despite increasing competition, the company remains a major player in many areas of computing and technology consulting.

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