“No one ever got fired for buying IBM” (or “Nobody gets fired for buying IBM”) means that no one gets fired to making the safe pick and choosing an industry leader. Other companies might have better products or offer lower prices, but they often come with greater risks. The phrase possibly dates to 1978 (or earlier), but was used most frequently since 1984.
In the 1990s, the phrase became: “No one ever got fired for buying Microsoft.” In the recession of 2008, the phrase became: “No one ever got fired for buying gold.”
Published by Cahners Publishing Co., 1978
Item notes: v.11 1978 Jan-Jun
And so the conventional wisdom became, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM equipment.”
The Little Kingdom:
The Private Story of Apple Computer
By Michael Moritz
Published by Morrow
Second, my clients want IBM and nobody has ever got fired for buying IBM. IBM’s goddamn thorough.
25 March 1985, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Computer Makers Suffer Market Pinch” by Catherine Arnst:
And a favorite slogan among business purchasers is the 20-year-old adage “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.’
Lessons: an autobiography
By An Wang with Eugene Linden
Published by Addison-Wesley
... of what has been called the “security blanket syndrome” — the essence of which is summed up by the sentence “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”
Doing deals: investment banks at work
By Robert G. Eccles and Dwight B. Crane
Published by Harvard Business Press
The old saying “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” comes to mind.
23 June 1991, Syracuse (NY) Herald Journal, Stars, pg. 28, col. 3:
No matter how good or bad IBM’s computers are, a lot of people are going to buy them. That’s because IBM is, well, IBM; it’s always a safe bet. That’s especially true in the business world, where the biggest bucks are.
There’s a saying among the accountants and information systems managers who help run corporate America: “You’ll never get fired for buying IBM.” It’s apparently true; no one who runs a company will ever question your probity if you decide to make the world’s wealthiest computer company a little bit richer.
November 1995, Datamation:
When it comes to the “client side” of client/server, you can honestly say “Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft.”
Diffusion of New Technologies in the Post-Communist World:
Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Marketing of High Tech Know How, St.Petersburg, Russia, June 1994
By Yakov M. Rabkin
Published by Springer
“No one ever got fired for buying Microsoft”
Google Groups: comp.sys.amiga.advocacy
Subject: Re: Giving the “We will buy Amiga” crap A MISS!
Terry, you just demonstrated that your knowledge is based in mainframe time. “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” was replaced with “nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft” many many years ago.
Google Groups: comp.databases.pick
Subject: Re: Another Pick Software Company Attempting to Convert To ORACLE - Voice Your Opinion
Fashion seem to dictate corporate policies, with some IT managers who are valuing their jobs more that the user’s needs , many years ago it was said that ‘No-one ever got fired for buying Blue (IBM)’, next, no-one ever got fired for buying Unix, then it was Oracle, then NT what next? Answers on a postcard please….....
24/7 Wall Street
Gold Stocks to the Rescue? (ABX, GG, GLD)
Posted: September 17, 2008 at 11:10 am
Betting on gold is not very imaginative, but it echoes the old saying: No one ever got fired for buying gold.
New York City • Banking/Finance/Insurance • Wednesday, March 11, 2009 • Permalink