Watson's answer to a question about competition in his first company meeting, 1914, as the new president, of the CTR (Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company), the company that was to become IBM: ". . . the only way that we want you men to handle the competition proposition is the only way we can afford to allow you men to handle it, that is, strictly on the merits of our goods. . . . You people when you come down to competition-must not do anything that's in restraint of trade, anything that will restrain the other fellow from selling his goods, anything that could be construed by anybody as unfair competition," he said, stammering in his earnestness. "You know, gentlemen, it is bad policy to do anything unfair with anybody, anywhere at any time, isn't it, in business or outside of business? No man ever won except in the one honest, fair and square way in which you men are working." The audience burst into applause, interrupting Watson again and again as he assured them that he would uphold fairness no matter what the competition did. . . . The spirit of the meeting quickened; and Watson, for the first time, began to take command.
Source: Thomas and Marva Belden in The Life of Thomas J. Watson, 1962, Little, Brown and Co.
Contributed by: Zaady