IBM 3380

1981 IBM 3380
Early adopter of thin-film heads (2nd) & Last 14” disk (oxide).
Most successful HDD product family

Why it’s important As a family it was in production for 15+ years (industry is typically less than 2 years). To a certain extent it was a dinosaur pushing technology to and perhaps beyond limits. The initial production shipment was delayed from 1Q81 to 10/16/81 and during its life it had at least two major recalls, for contamination (1987) and bearing failure (1989).

Nonetheless, the 3380 family was the most profitable product family in the history of IBM and is thought to be the one of the most successful product family in the history of commerce.


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