If you have ever owned a computer or even ever used a computer, the odds were pretty high that at one point you used a Compaq computer. The company has been around since 1982 and its computers are in every state and every country around the world, and were prized for their excellent craftsmanship, durability, and ease of use. However, if you have ever used a Compaq, you probably never stopped to think how the company came about and what changes it has gone through in the years since the company was created. We have outlined a little of Compaq’s history over the years, and if you would like to know even more about the history of Compaq, the internet can provide you with a wealth of material on this subject.
Known formally as Compaq Computer Corporation, Compaq was an American personal computer company. Once independent, it is now one of the brand names of Hewlett-Packard. Compaq Computer Corporation was formed by Jim Harris, Bill Murto and Rod Canion, who were all former senior managers for Texas Instruments. The name itself was derived from the phrase “compatibility and quality” which is what the creators were striving to achieve. Luckily, it was easily achieved and some of the first IBM PC compatible personal computers were produced by Compaq.
At one time, Compaq was the largest supplier of personal computer systems in the entire world, and they existed as a completely independent entity until the merger with Hewlett-Packard in 2002. Prior to that merger, the company had its headquarters based in northwest unincorporated Harris County in Texas. This merger had many who opposed it including William Hewlett, who was one of the largest HP shareholders. It was approved by one of the narrowest margins ever, and the merger was plagued by allegations of fraud and vote buying, caused by an alleged back room, last second deal with Deutsche Bank. Later, it was disclosed that Deutsche Bank’s investment banking division had been retained by Hewlett Packard in order to assist in the merger. It was agreed that HP would guarantee $1 million to Deutsche bank, and then another $1 million if the merger was successful. As a result of this, Deutsche Bank was charged with failing to disclose a material conflict of interest, involving its client voting proxies for this merger. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission imposed a civil penalty of $750 thousand and the bank paid it without admitting or denying guilt.
After the merger, Carly Fiorina, who was already the Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, added the responsibilities of the former president to her own. During the 3 years that Fiorina was at the helm, the company was forced to lay off thousands of former Compaq employees as its stock price continued to decline and sales did not spring back. Even though the merger initially made Hewlett-Packard the number one personal computer manufacturer, these problems soon caused it to fall behind Dell as number one.
In 2005 however, the company was under new leadership, as Mark Hurd became CEO, and confidence was restored as Dell shares and sales saw a downturn. HP soon took the #1 sales position back, and the PC segment of HP has been completely reinvigorated, generating more revenue than many other traditionally more profitable manufacturers.