IBM La Gaude

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World's first computer-controlled business telephone systems[edit]

French IBM engineers developed the world's first computer-controlled business telephone systems at IBM La Gaude near Nice in France.

1962 laboratory relocation from Paris to near Nice[edit]

IBM moved its French research and product-development laboratory from Paris to a spectacular, purpose-built, 35,000 square-metre building, designed by the architect Marcel Breuer, in 23 hectares of rough countryside near the village of La Gaude overlooking Nice and Nice airport. IBM chose the location because it could attract the cream of French engineers to work on the French Riviera, it was close to France's second-largest airport, and because it complied with the French government’s policy to decentralize from Paris and build away from urban centres.

Initially 700 people, mostly engineers, worked there. By 1987 there were 1,500 engineers in the original B1 building. The B2 building was built in 1969 and B3 (with a patio) in 1978. From 1984 to 1986 reinforcements were made to reduce the risk of earthquake damage. Staff included IBM employees from other European countries and the USA. In 2015 most staff were displaced to a new centre nearer Nice.[1][2]


IBM La Gaude developed telecommunication products for IBM's worldwide markets. For European markets there were the IBM 1750, 2750 and 3750 Switching Systems (world-wide the first electronic computer-controlled business telephone systems widely called PABXsPrivate Automatic Branch Exchanges). For world markets La Gaude engineers developed the IBM 270x series of communication controllers, modems, and other IBM products.

In 1963, IBM La Gaude established a satellite link to IBM Endicott in the USA — at 3,300 words per minute.

Client visits[edit]

Up to 5,000 potential clients of IBM visited IBM La Gaude each year.

IBM movements from La Gaude[edit]

On 25 October 2007, more than 200 employees demonstrated against the transfer of personnel to AT&T.

In August 2015, some 530 IBM staff moved[3] from La Gaude to the new IBM Innovation Center Nice in the Méridia (fr) high-tech district by the River Var close to Nice.[4] Some IBM staff continued to work at IBM La Gaude; the buildings are also used by other organisations.[5][6]