Compaq changed the history of the computer industry. It is remembered for its pioneering efforts and quality computing products.
Compaq Computer Corporation was founded in 1982 by Rod Canion, Jim Harris, and Bill Murto in Houston, Texas. The company’s mission was to create a portable computer that was fully IBM PC compatible, something that did not yet exist in the market. In 1983, Compaq released the Compaq Portable, which was a success and established the company as a leading PC manufacturer.
Early IBM Clone
One of Compaq’s key innovations was its use of “clone” technology, which allowed it to create IBM PC-compatible computers that were less expensive than those produced by IBM. This allowed Compaq to quickly establish itself as a viable alternative to IBM and helped to drive down the cost of personal computers for consumers.
By 1986, Compaq had become the first U.S. company to reach $1 billion in annual revenue. Compaq was also the first to introduce the portable computer for consumers in 1987. To keep up with an increasingly competitive market, Compaq released the first Pentium-based PC in 1993.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Compaq expanded its product line and entered new markets, including servers and enterprise computing. The company also made several strategic acquisitions, including the purchase of Tandem Computers in 1997 and Digital Equipment Corporation in 1998. These acquisitions helped Compaq to diversify its product offerings and expand into new markets.
Growth from Acquisition
Connected to Compaq’s meteoric growth, the company made several acquisitions:
Microcom (1997) – A modem and networking company.
Thomas-Conrad Corporation (1997) – A company that specialized in developing and selling graphics accelerators.
Digital Equipment Corporation (1998) – A major computer manufacturer and software company.
NetWorth (1998) – A networking company that focused on LANs and WANs.
Zip2 (1999) – A company that developed online city guides and directories.
Inacom (1999) – A computer reseller and services company.
Tandem Computers (1999) – A company that specialized in fault-tolerant computer systems.
Shopping.com (1999) – An online shopping comparison site.
Tru64 UNIX (2001) – A UNIX operating system developed by Digital Equipment Corporation.
Despite its success, Compaq struggled in the early 2000s. The company was hit hard by the dot-com crash, and it was unable to adapt to the changing market conditions. In 2002, Compaq was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in a $25 billion deal. Their computer models were included in the HP family of products. Unfortunately, HP discontinued the Compaq brand in 2013. and the Compaq brand was phased out.
- Year Started: 1982
- Year Ended: 2002
- Origin Of Name: Variation on “compact”, emphasizing being the first portable personal computer
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: Hewlett Packard
- Owner Original: Rod Canion, Jim Harris, and Bill Murto
- Owner While In Use: Publicly traded
- Owner Successor: Hewlett Packard
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Dell personal computers
- Naics Code: 334111
- Location Headquarters: Houston, Texas, United States