IBM had operated service bureaus in major cities since 1932 allowing users to rent time on tabulating equipment, and later computing equipment, to solve problems which couldn't justify a full-time equipment lease. In 1956, as a result of a consent decree with the United States Department of Justice, IBM spun off its service bureaus to force them to operate at "arms length" from the parent company.
In 1973, as a result of another lawsuit over the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) created by IBM's pre-announcement of a nonexistent System/360 Model 92, IBM sold SBC for $16 million to Control Data Corporation, which had a small service bureau business of its own.
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