Wang Laboratories made history as an American computer company founded in 1951 by Dr. An Wang and G. Y. Chu. The company operated in Lowell, Massachusetts and was known for its early contributions to the computer industry, including the development of the first word processing computer and the first desktop calculator.
In the early years, Wang Laboratories focused on developing electronic calculators and other desktop computing devices. In the late 1960s, the company began to shift its focus towards larger, mainframe-style computers. Dr. Wang himself led this shift. He believed that the future of computing lay in larger, more powerful machines.
One of the company’s most significant contributions to the computer industry was the development of the Wang 700 series of word processing computers. These machines, which were first introduced in the 1970s, allowed users to create, edit, and print documents on a computer, rather than on a typewriter. This was a major breakthrough at the time, and the Wang 700 series quickly became the industry standard for word processing.
Trying to Compete with PCs
In the 1980s, Wang Laboratories continued to expand its product line and began to focus on the growing market for personal computers. The company released a number of successful PC models, including the Wang PC and the Wang Professional Computer.
However, despite its early success, Wang Laboratories began to struggle in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Wang found it difficult to compete in the PC space with the likes of IBM, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, and others. The recession of the early 1990s hit the company hard. Wang was unable to adapt to the rapidly changing computer industry. In 1992, Wang filed for bankruptcy and was eventually acquired by a group of investors in 1999.
Wang Laboratories cemented its place in the pantheon of technological firsts. It is also remembered for its role in the development of the Massachusetts high-tech industry.
- Year Started: 1951
- Year Ended: 1992
- Origin Of Name: Name of Founder, Descriptive
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: An Wang and G. Y. Chu
- Owner While In Use: N/A
- Owner Successor: N/A
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Dell personal computers
- Naics Code: 334111
- Location Headquarters: Lowell, Massachusetts, United States