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IBM has a long standing history for providing machinery and services for classical business cases. Maybe the AS/400 is commonly perceived as ultimately boring because of that: The AS/400 is mostly running stuff considered boring (by geeks). Commercial IT at its best: Warehouse management, personnel administration, tracking account movements, to name a few. Stuff that makes sure civilisation as we know it won't collapse, because money stops flowing, carriage of goods ceases, personnel isn't directed to where needed.
IBM launched the AS/400 hardware platform with it's proprietary operating system called OS/400 in 1988. This platform was essentially a somewhat modified version of the IBM System/38, announced in 1978. The S/38 is the brainchild of Frank Soltis (Hardware), Dick Bains and Dan Hicks (Software) and Glenn Henry (Project Manager), with contributions from lot more of people.
Ca. 1997, the whole platform was rebranded to AS/400e (for eServer), reflecting IBMs strategy to focus on e-Business. Around the year 2000, the platform was rebranded again as eServer iSeries, while around 2005 the next renaming took place, to System i,  while the Operating System was renamed from OS/400 to i5/OS. Eventually, with the advent of OS release V6R1 around 2007, the OS got it's today's name, IBM i, while the hardware was renamed to simply POWER.
- Dick Bains, IBM S/38 Giant, Dead at 64, MCPressOnline
- IBM Rochester Photo Album, IBM
- A Brief History of the IBM AS/400 and iSeries, IBM write up, unknown author
- OS/400 short summary about the peculiarities of the AS/400, and release history of Hard- and Software
- Or worst.
- Coincidently to a rename of the former RS6000 machines to System p.
- The transition from separate hardware developments for AIX and OS/400 to common hardware was completed by then.