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Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ) or HP is an American multinational hardware and software corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States. It provides products, technologies, software, solutions and services to consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises, including customers in the government, health and education sectors.

The company was founded in a one-car garage in Palo Alto by William (Bill) Redington Hewlett and Dave Packard. HP is the world's leading PC manufacturer. It specializes in developing and manufacturing computing, data storage, and networking hardware, designing software and delivering services. Major product lines include personal computing devices, enterprise, and industry standard servers, related storage devices, networking products, software and a diverse range of printers, and other imaging products. HP markets its products to households, small- to medium-sized businesses and enterprises directly as well as via online distribution, consumer-electronics and office-supply retailers, software partners and major technology vendors. HP also has strong services and consulting business around its products and partner products.

Major company events have included the spin-off of part of its business as Agilent Technologies in 1999, its merger with Compaq in 2002, and the acquisition of EDS in 2008, which led to combined revenues of $118.4 billion in 2008 and a Fortune 500 ranking of 9 in 2009.[2] In November 2009, HP announced the acquisition of 3Com,[3] with the deal closing on April 12, 2010.[4] On April 28, 2010, HP announced the buyout of Palm for $1.2 billion.[5] On September 2, 2010, HP won its bidding war for 3PAR with a $33 a share offer ($2.07 billion) which Dell declined to match.[6]

Hewlett-Packard is not affiliated with Packard Motor Car Corporation, founded by James Ward Packard and William Doud Packard, or with Packard Bell.


History

Founding

Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard graduated with degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1935. The company originated in a garage in nearby Palo Alto during a fellowship they had with a past professor, Frederick Terman at Stanford during the Great Depression. Terman was considered a mentor to them in forming Hewlett-Packard.[7] In 1939, Packard and Hewlett established Hewlett-Packard (HP) in Packard's garage with an initial capital investment of US$538.[8] Hewlett and Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett[9] Packard won the coin toss but named their manufacturing enterprise the "Hewlett-Packard Company".[citation needed] HP incorporated on August 18, 1947, and went public on November 6, 1957.

Of the many projects they worked on, their very first financially successful product was a precision audio oscillator, the Model HP200A. Their innovation was the use of a small incandescent light bulb (known as a "pilot light") as a temperature dependent resistor in a critical portion of the circuit, the negative feedback loop which stabilized the amplitude of the output sinusoidal waveform. This allowed them to sell the Model 200A for $54.40 when competitors were selling less stable oscillators for over $200. The Model 200 series of generators continued until at least 1972 as the 200AB, still tube-based but improved in design through the years.

One of the company's earliest customers was Walt Disney Productions, which bought eight Model 200B oscillators (at $71.50 each) for use in certifying the Fantasound surround sound systems installed in theaters for the movie Fantasia.

Early years

The company was originally rather unfocused, working on a wide range of electronic products for industry and even agriculture.

From the 1940s until well into the 1990s the company concentrated on making electronic test equipment: signal generators, voltmeters, oscilloscopes, frequency counters, thermometers, time standards, wave analyzers, and many other instruments. A distinguishing feature was pushing the limits of measurement range and accuracy; many HP instruments were more sensitive, accurate, and precise than other comparable equipment.

Following the pattern set by the company's first product, the 200A, test instruments were labelled with three to five digits followed by the letter "A". Improved versions went to suffixes "B" through "E". As the product range grew wider HP started using product designators starting with a letter for accessories, supplies, software, and components.

The 1960s

HP is recognized as the symbolic founder of Silicon Valley, although it did not actively investigate semiconductor devices until a few years after the "traitorous eight" had abandoned William Shockley to create Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957. Hewlett-Packard's HP Associates division, established around 1960, developed semiconductor devices primarily for internal use. Instruments and calculators were some of the products using these devices.

HP partnered in the 1960s with Sony and the Yokogawa Electric companies in Japan to develop several high-quality products. The products were not a huge success, as there were high costs in building HP-looking products in Japan. HP and Yokogawa formed a joint venture (Yokogawa-Hewlett-Packard) in 1963 to market HP products in Japan.[10] HP bought Yokogawa Electric's share of Hewlett-Packard Japan in 1999.[11]

HP spun off a small company, Dynac, to specialize in digital equipment. The name was picked so that the HP logo "hp" could be turned upside down to be a reverse reflect image of the logo "dy" of the new company. Eventually Dynac changed to Dymec, then was folded back into HP in 1959.[12] HP experimented with using Digital Equipment Corporation minicomputers with its instruments, but after deciding that it would be easier to build another small design team than deal with DEC, HP entered the computer market in 1966 with the HP 2100 / HP 1000 series of minicomputers. These had a simple accumulator-based design, with registers arranged somewhat similarly to the Intel x86 architecture still used today. The series was produced for 20 years, in spite of several attempts to replace it, and was a forerunner of the HP 9800 and HP 250 series of desktop and business computers.

The 1970s

The HP 3000 was an advanced stack-based design for a business computing server, later redesigned with RISC technology. The HP 2640 series of smart and intelligent terminals introduced forms-based interfaces to ASCII terminals, and also introduced screen labeled function keys, now commonly used on gas pumps and bank ATMs. The HP 2640 series included one of the first bit mapped graphics displays that when combined with the HP 2100 21MX F-Series microcoded Scientific Instruction Set[13] enabled the first commercial WYSIWYG Presentation Program, BRUNO that later became the program HP-Draw on the HP 3000. Although scoffed at in the formative days of computing, HP would eventually surpass even IBM as the world's largest technology vendor, in terms of sales.[14]

HP is identified by Wired magazine as the producer of the world's first marketed, mass-produced personal computer, the Hewlett-Packard 9100A, introduced in 1968.[15] HP called it a desktop calculator, because, as Bill Hewlett said, "If we had called it a computer, it would have been rejected by our customers' computer gurus because it didn't look like an IBM. We therefore decided to call it a calculator, and all such nonsense disappeared." An engineering triumph at the time, the logic circuit was produced without any integrated circuits; the assembly of the CPU having been entirely executed in discrete components. With CRT display, magnetic-card storage, and printer, the price was around $5000. The machine's keyboard was a cross between that of a scientific calculator and an adding machine. There was no alphabetic keyboard.

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, originally designed the Apple I computer while working at HP and offered it to them under their right of first refusal to his work, but they did not take it up as the company wanted to stay in scientific, business, and industrial markets.[citation needed]
The company earned global respect for a variety of products. They introduced the world's first handheld scientific electronic calculator in 1972 (the HP-35), the first handheld programmable in 1974 (the HP-65), the first alphanumeric, programmable, expandable in 1979 (the HP-41C), and the first symbolic and graphing calculator, the HP-28C. Like their scientific and business calculators, their oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, and other measurement instruments have a reputation for sturdiness and usability (the latter products are now part of spin-off Agilent's product line). The company's design philosophy in this period was summarized as "design for the guy at the next bench".[citation needed]

The 98x5 series of technical desktop computers started in 1975 with the 9815, and the cheaper 80 series, again of technical computers, started in 1979 with the 85.[16] These machines used a version of the BASIC programming language which was available immediately after they were switched on, and used a proprietary magnetic tape for storage. HP computers were similar in capabilities to the much later IBM Personal Computer, although the limitations of available technology forced prices to be high.[citation needed]

The 1980s

In 1984, HP introduced both inkjet and laser printers for the desktop. Along with its scanner product line, these have later been developed into successful multifunction products, the most significant being single-unit printer/scanner/copier/fax machines. The print mechanisms in HP's tremendously popular LaserJet line of laser printers depend almost entirely on Canon's components (print engines), which in turn use technology developed by Xerox. HP develops the hardware, firmware, and software that convert data into dots for the mechanism to print.[citation needed] HP transitioned from the HP3000 to the HP9000 series minicomputers with attached storage such as the HP 7935 hard drive holding 404 MiB.

On March 3, 1986, HP registered the HP.com domain name, making it the ninth Internet .com domain ever to be registered.[17]

In 1987, the Palo Alto garage where Hewlett and Packard started their business was designated as a California State historical landmark.

The 1990s

In the 1990s, HP expanded their computer product line, which initially had been targeted at university, research, and business users, to reach consumers.
HP also grew through acquisitions, buying Apollo Computer in 1989 and Convex Computer in 1995.

Later in the decade, HP opened hpshopping.com as an independent subsidiary to sell online, direct to consumers; in 2005, the store was renamed "HP Home & Home Office Store."

From 1995 to 1998, Hewlett-Packard were sponsors of the English football team Tottenham Hotspur.

In 1999, all of the businesses not related to computers, storage, and imaging were spun off from HP to form Agilent. Agilent's spin-off was the largest initial public offering in the history of Silicon Valley.[18] The spin-off created an $8 billion company with about 30,000 employees, manufacturing scientific instruments, semiconductors, optical networking devices, and electronic test equipment for telecom and wireless R&D and production.

In July 1999, HP appointed Carly Fiorina as CEO, the first female CEO of a company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Fiorina served as CEO during the technology industry downturn of the early 2000s. During her tenure, the market value of HP halved and the company incurred heavy job losses.[19] The HP Board of Directors asked Fiorina to step down in 2005, and she resigned on February 9, 2005.