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Compaq Computer Corporation

legal form Corporation
founding 1982
resolution 2002
Seat Houston , Texas , United States
United StatesUnited States 
Branch Information technology

The Compaq Computer Corporation from 1982 until the takeover in 2002 by Hewlett-Packard (HP) is an American manufacturer of computers . HP then ran Compaq as a brand for various lines of notebooks and desktop computers until 2013 .



Compaq was founded in February 1982 by Rod Canion , Jim Harris and Bill Murto - three senior executives at the semiconductor manufacturer Texas Instruments . Each invested $ 1,000 for it. The name is an abbreviation for Compaq Comp atibility a nd Q uality.

The first products

Compaq's first product was a portable version of an IBM PC , which launched in March 1983 at a price of $ 3,590. While not the first portable computer, it was the first IBM-compatible portable PC . In addition, even the first legal IBM-compatible PC ever. The device was equipped with a 9-inch black and white screen and two 5¼-inch floppy disk drives. It weighed approximately 45 pounds (20.5 kg) and was very popular. In the first year Compaq managed to sell 53,000 units and set standards for the American computer industry in the first three years of the company's history.

Compaq Armada 7800, successful model for Compaq

Compaq's efforts were legal because Microsoft had the right to license MS-DOS to other computer manufacturers. Compaq put a team of 15 programmers one to order the IBM PC BIOS using reverse engineering to recreate for a million dollars. Many other companies later followed suit.

In 1986 Compaq brought out the DeskPro 386 and the Portable 386, the first (portable) IBM-compatible PCs based on the 80386 microprocessor from Intel , the first 32-bit processor of the x86 series. The use of this CPU, against which IBM had decided, encouraged Compaq to leave the role of PC replica. In 1987, when IBM launched its microchannel-based IBM PS / 2 series, Compaq became one of the biggest supporters of EISA , an industry standard that was to stand up to IBM's architecture. In 1989 Compaq introduced the Compaq SystemPro, a dual-processor server system that was significantly cheaper than the minicomputers that dominated the LAN server market at the time.

Server case of a Compaq SystemPro

Entry into the consumer market

In the 1990s, the company entered the mass market with its Presario range and was one of the first manufacturers to experiment with consumer PCs that were priced at just under $ 1000 in the mid-1990s. In order to be able to keep the prices, Compaq decided as the first company to use processors from the manufacturers AMD and Cyrix . The price war that resulted from this action resulted in the displacement of some competitors, especially IBM and Packard Bell , from the market.

In 1997 Compaq bought Tandem Computers , known for their server line “ NonStop ”.

In 1998, Compaq acquired Digital Equipment Corporation - the company that invented the minicomputer .

The integration of the acquired companies turned out to be difficult due to the different technologies and corporate cultures. As a result, Compaq fell behind its competitors Dell and Hewlett-Packard .

Merger with Hewlett-Packard

In 2002 Compaq was taken over by competitor Hewlett-Packard in a highly controversial merger . Some of the big HP stockholders, including Walter Hewlett , son of William Hewlett , spoke out publicly against the purchase. A little later, Compaq CEO Michael Capellas left the company and left HP CEO Carly Fiorina control of the merged company. Many Compaq products have since been added to the HP product range, while the Compaq brand continues to exist in other product lines such as business notebooks.

Two sports stadiums were named after the company, the Houston Compaq Center in Houston and the San Jose Compaq Center in San Jose, California, which was later renamed the HP Pavilion .

Continuation of the brand

Compaq logo until 2008

Compaq lived on as a brand in the USA, England, France and Italy, and since 2008 also in Germany. The brand was finally discontinued in 2013. In 2015 it was announced that the Argentine Grupo Newsan will produce Compaq models locally for the local market in cooperation with HP. As of 2017, Presario models were on offer there.

Further products

Compaq's other products included, for example, the servers of the Proliant series. ILO ( Integrated Lights-Out ) are integrated in these servers for remote management ; RILO (Remote Insight Lights Out) are also available as an option in older servers. Smart Array Controllers - “intelligent” RAID controllers produced by Compaq itself .

Web links

Commons : Compaq  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b 'HP Compaq' branding to end next year, Compaq name will live on for 'basic computing at entry-level pricing' . In: The Verge . ( [accessed December 7, 2017]).
  3. Mini plans: Compaq PC market is getting too tight. Computerwoche , November 17, 1989, accessed September 1, 2015 .
  5. heise online: HP revives the Compaq brand in Germany. Accessed December 7, 2017 (German).
  6. Flavio Cannilla: Compaq vuelve a la Argentina . In: . ( [accessed December 7, 2017]).
  7. Presario 21-n1f7ar - Notebooks - Compaq. Retrieved December 7, 2017 (Spanish).