Hewlett-Packard Company
Traded as NYSE: HPQ
Industry Computer hardware
Computer software
IT services
IT consulting
Fate Split into two companies; renamed as HP Inc.
Successor HP Inc.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Founded January 1, 1939; 78 years ago (1939-01-01)
Founders William Redington Hewlett and
David Packard
Defunct November 1, 2015 (2015-11-01) (main company) (For Hewlett Packard Enterprise). Now operating as HP Inc.
Headquarters Palo Alto, California, U.S.
Area served
Products See list of HP products.
Subsidiaries List of subsidiaries
Website www.hp.com

The Hewlett-Packard Company ( d/ HEW-lit PAK-erd, commonly referred to as HP) was an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Palo Alto, California. It developed and provided a wide variety of hardware components as well as software and related 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 David "Dave" Packard, and initially produced a line of electronic test equipment. HP was the world's leading PC manufacturer from 2007 to Q2 2013, after which Lenovo came to rank ahead of HP. [1] [2] [3] It specialized in developing and manufacturing computing, data storage, and networking hardware, designing software and delivering services. Major product lines included 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 marketed 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 had services and consulting business around its products and partner products.

Hewlett-Packard company events included the spin-off of its electronic and bio-analytical measurement instruments 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. In November 2009, HP announced the acquisition of 3Com, [4] with the deal closing on April 12, 2010. [5] On April 28, 2010, HP announced the buyout of Palm, Inc. for $1.2 billion. [6] 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. [7]

On October 6, 2014, Hewlett-Packard announced plans to split the PC and printers business from its enterprise products and services business. The split closed on November 1, 2015, and resulted in two publicly traded companies: HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. [8] In 2017, Hewlett Packard Enterprise spun-off its Enterprises Services division as DXC Technology and its Software division to Micro Focus.


The garage in Palo Alto where Hewlett and Packard began their company
Hewlett-Packard logo used from 1941 to 1964

William Redington Hewlett [9] and David 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. [10] In 1938, Packard and Hewlett begin part-time work in a rented garage with an initial capital investment of US$538. In 1939 Hewlett and Packard decided to formalize their partnership. They tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard (HP) or Packard-Hewlett. [11] 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 $89.40 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.

They worked on counter-radar technology and artillery shell fuses during World War II, which allowed Packard (but not Hewlett) to be exempt from the draft. [12]


The HP200A, a precision audio oscillator, was the company's very first financially successful product.

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. [13] HP bought Yokogawa Electric's share of Hewlett-Packard Japan in 1999. [14]

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. [15] HP experimented with using Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) 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.


Hewlett-Packard logo used from 1964 to 1979

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 [16] 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. [17]

Introduced in 1968, "The new Hewlett-Packard 9100A personal computer is ready, willing, and able ... to relieve you of waiting to get on the big computer."

Although Programma 101 was the first commercial " desktop computer", HP is identified by Wired magazine as the producer of the world's first device to be called a personal computer, the Hewlett-Packard 9100A, introduced in 1968. [18] Programma 101 was called "computer personale" (in Italian), at Fiera di Milano, 1966. [19] 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 $5,000. 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. Wozniak said that HP "turned him down 5 times", but that his loyalty to HP made him hesitant to start Apple with Steve Jobs. [20]

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, which were later spun-off from Agilent as Keysight Technologies). 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. [21] 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]


Hewlett-Packard logo used from 1979 to 2010

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 Inc.'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]

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

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


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. It bought 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 Technologies. Agilent's spin-off was the largest initial public offering in the history of Silicon Valley. [22] 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 Fortune-20 company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. [23] Fiorina served as CEO during the technology downturn of the early 2000s and led the merger with Compaq that was "disastrous", according to CNN and led to the firing of 30,000 U.S. employees. [24] Under her leadership, the company doubled in size. Her tenure as CEO was beset by damaging leaks. [25] The HP Board of Directors asked Fiorina to step down in 2005 following a boardroom disagreement, and she resigned on February 9, 2005. [26]

Sales to Iran despite sanctions

In 1997, HP sold over $120 million worth of its printers and computer products to Iran through a European subsidiary and a Dubai-based East distributor, despite U.S. export sanctions prohibiting such deals imposed by Bill Clinton's executive orders issued in 1995. [27] [28] [29] The story was initially reported by The Boston Globe, [30] and it triggered an inquiry by the SEC. HP responded that products worth US$120 million were sold in fiscal year 2008 [31] for distribution by way of Redington Gulf, a company based in the Netherlands, and that as these sales took place through a foreign subsidiary, HP had not violated sanctions. [27]

HP named Redington Gulf "Wholesaler of the Year" in 2003, which in turn published a press release stating that "[t]he seeds of the Redington-Hewlett-Packard relationship were sowed six years ago for one market — Iran." [27] At that time, Redington Gulf had only three employees whose sole purpose was to sell HP products to the Iran market. [30] According to former officials who worked on sanctions, HP was using a loophole by routing their sales through a foreign subsidiary. [27] HP ended its relationship with Redington Gulf after the SEC inquiry. [27]


Hewlett-Packard Deskjet 3845 printer

On September 3, 2001, HP announced that an agreement had been reached with Compaq to merge the two companies. [32] In May 2002, after passing a shareholder vote, HP officially merged with Compaq. Prior to this, plans had been in place to consolidate the companies' product teams and product lines. [33]

Compaq had already taken over Digital Equipment Corporation in 1998. HP therefore still offers support for the former Digital Equipment products PDP-11, VAX and AlphaServer.

The merger occurred after a proxy fight with Bill Hewlett's son Walter, who objected to the merger. Compaq itself had bought Tandem Computers in 1997 (which had been started by ex-HP employees), and Digital Equipment Corporation in 1998. Following this strategy, HP became a major player in desktops, laptops, and servers for many different markets. After the merger with Compaq, the new ticker symbol became "HPQ", a combination of the two previous symbols, "HWP" and "CPQ", to show the significance of the alliance and also key letters from the two companies Hewlett-Packard and Compaq (the latter company being famous for its "Q" logo on all of its products).

In 2004, HP released the DV 1000 Series, including the HP Pavilion dv 1658 and 1040 two years later in May 2006, HP began its campaign, "The Computer is Personal Again". The campaign was designed to bring back the fact that the PC is a personal product. The campaign utilized viral marketing, sophisticated visuals and its own website (www.hp.com/personal). Some of the ads featured Pharrell, [34] Petra Nemcova, Mark Burnett, Mark Cuban, Alicia Keys, [35] Jay-Z, [36] Gwen Stefani, and Shaun White.[ citation needed]


A sign marking the entrance to the HP corporate headquarters in Palo Alto, California, 2006
iPAQ 112 Pocket PC from 2008

On May 13, 2008, HP and Electronic Data Systems (EDS) announced [37] that they had signed a definitive agreement under which HP would purchase EDS. On June 30, HP announced [38] that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 had expired. "The transaction still requires EDS stockholder approval and regulatory clearance from the European Commission and other non-U.S. jurisdictions and is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the other closing conditions specified in the merger agreement." The agreement was finalized on August 26, 2008 at $13 billion, and it was publicly announced that EDS would be re-branded "EDS a HP company." The first targeted layoff of 24,600 former EDS workers was announced on September 15, 2008. [39] (The company's 2008 Annual Report gave the number as 24,700, to be completed by end of 2009. [40]) This round was factored into purchase price as a $19.5 billion liability against goodwill. As of September 23, 2009, EDS is known as HP Enterprise Services.

On November 11, 2009, 3Com and Hewlett-Packard announced that Hewlett-Packard would be acquiring 3Com for $2.7 billion in cash. [41] The acquisition is one of the biggest in size among a series of takeovers and acquisitions by technology giants to push their way to become one-stop shops. Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007, tech giants have constantly felt the pressure to expand beyond their current market niches. Dell purchased Perot Systems recently to invade into the technology consulting business area previously dominated by IBM. Hewlett-Packard's latest move marked its incursion into enterprise networking gear market dominated by Cisco.


A Hewlett-Packard Mini 1000 netbook computer, a type of notebook computer

On April 28, 2010, Palm, Inc. and Hewlett-Packard announced that HP would buy Palm for $1.2 billion in cash and debt. [42] Before this announcement, it was rumored that either HTC, Dell, Research in Motion or HP would buy Palm. Adding Palm handsets to the HP product line created some overlap with the iPAQ series of mobile devices but was thought to significantly improve HP's mobile presence as iPAQdevices had not been selling well. Buying Palm gave HP a library of valuable patents, as well as the mobile operating platform known as webOS. On July 1, 2010, the acquisition of Palm was final. [43] The purchase of Palm's webOS began a big gamble – to build HP's own ecosystem. [44] On July 1, 2011, HP launched its first tablet named HP TouchPad, bringing webOS to tablet devices. 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. After HP's acquisition of Palm, it phased out the Compaq brand.

On August 6, 2010, CEO Mark Hurd resigned amid controversy and CFO Cathie Lesjak assumed the role of interim CEO. Hurd had turned HP around and was widely regarded as one of Silicon Valley's star CEOs, but was accused of sexual harassment against a colleague. Although the allegations were deemed baseless, the investigation led to questions concerning between $1000 and $20000 of his private expenses and his lack of disclosure related to the friendship. [45] [46] Some observers have argued that Hurd was innocent, but the board asked for his resignation to avoid negative PR. [47] Public analysis was divided between those who saw it as a commendable tough action by HP in handling expenses irregularities, and those who saw it as an ill-advised, hasty and expensive reaction, in ousting a remarkably capable leader who had turned the business around. [45] [46] [48] Shares of HP dropped by 8.4% in after-hours trading, hitting a 52-week low with $9 billion in market capitalization shaved off. [49] Larry Ellison publicly attacked HP's board for his ousting. [50]

On September 30, 2010, Léo Apotheker was named as HP's new CEO and President. [51] Apotheker's appointment sparked a strong reaction from Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison, [52] who complained that Apotheker had been in charge of SAP when one of its subsidiaries was systematically stealing software from Oracle. SAP accepted that its subsidiary, which has now closed, illegally accessed Oracle intellectual property. [53] Following Hurd's departure, HP was seen by the market as problematic, with margins falling and having failed to redirect and establish itself in major new markets such as cloud and mobile services.[ citation needed] Apotheker's strategy was broadly to aim at disposing of hardware and moving into the more profitable software services sector. On August 18, 2011, HP announced that it would strategically exit the smartphone and tablet computer business, focusing on higher-margin "strategic priorities of Cloud, solutions and software with an emphasis on enterprise, commercial and government markets" [54] They also contemplated selling off their personal computer division or spinning it off into a separate company, [55] quitting the 'PC' business, while continuing to sell servers and other equipment to business customers, was a strategy already undertaken by IBM in 2005. [56]

HP's stock continued to drop, by about a further 40% (including 25% on one day, August 19, 2011), after the company abruptly announced a number of decisions: to discontinue its webOS device business (mobile phones and tablet computers), the intent to sell its personal computer division (at the time HP was the largest personal computer manufacturer in the world), and to acquire British big data software firm Autonomy for a 79% premium, seen externally as an "absurdly high" price [57] for a business with known concerns over its accounts. [58] Media analysts described HP's actions as a "botched strategy shift" and a "chaotic" attempt to rapidly reposition HP and enhance earnings that ultimately cost Apotheker his job. [57] [59] [60] The Autonomy acquisition had been objected to even by HP's own CFO. [61] [62]:3–6

On September 22, 2011, the HP Board of Directors fired Apotheker as chief executive, effective immediately, and replaced him with fellow board member and former eBay chief Meg Whitman, [63] with Raymond J. Lane as executive chairman. Though Apotheker served barely ten months, he received over $13 million in compensation. [64] HP lost more than $30 billion in market capitalization during his tenure. Weeks later, HP announced that a review had concluded their PC division was too integrated and critical to business operations, and the company reaffirmed their commitment to the Personal Systems Group. [65] A year later in November 2012 wrote-down almost $9 billion related to the Autonomy acquisition (see below: Takeover of Autonomy), which became the subject of intense litigation as HP accused Autonomy's previous management of fraudulently exaggerating Autonomy's financial position and called in law enforcement and regulators in both countries, and Autonomy's previous management accused HP of "textbook" obfuscation and finger pointing to protect HP's executives from criticism and conceal HP culpability, their prior knowledge of Autonomy's financial position, and gross mismanagement of Autonomy after acquisition. [62]:6

On March 21, 2012, HP said its printing and PC divisions would become one unit headed by Todd Bradley from the PC division. Printing chief Vyomesh Joshi is leaving the company. [66]

On May 23, 2012, HP announced plans to lay off approximately 27,000 employees, after posting a profit decline of 31% in the second quarter of 2012. [67] The profit decline is on account of the growing popularity of smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, that has slowed the sale of personal computers. [68]

On May 30, 2012, HP unveiled its first net zero energy data center. HP data center plans to use solar energy and other renewable sources instead of traditional power grids. [69]

On July 10, 2012, HP's Server Monitoring Software was discovered to have a previously unknown security vulnerability. [70] A security warning was given to customers about two vulnerabilities, and a patch released. [71] One month later, HP's official site of training center was hacked and defaced by a Pakistani hacker known to as 'Hitcher' to demonstrate a web vulnerability. [72]

On September 10, 2012, HP revised their restructuring figures; they are now cutting 29,000 jobs. HP had already cut 3,800 jobs – around 7 percent of the revised 29,000 figure – as of July 2012. [73]


On December 31, 2013, HP revised the amount of jobs cut from 29,000 to 34,000 up to October 2014. The current amount of jobs cut until the end of 2013 was 24,600. [74] [75] [76] At the end of 2013 the company had 317,500 employees. On May 22, 2014 HP announced it would cut a further 11,000 to 16,000 jobs, in addition to the 34,000 announced in 2013. "We are gradually shaping HP into a more nimble, lower-cost, more customer and partner-centric company that can successfully compete across a rapidly changing IT landscape," CEO Meg Whitman said at the time. [77]

In June 2014, during the HP Discover customer event in Las Vegas, Meg Whitman and Martin Fink announced a project for a radically new computer architecture called The Machine. Based on memristors and silicon photonics, The Machine is supposed to come in commercialization before the end of the decade, meanwhile representing 75% of the research activity in HP Labs. [78]

On October 6, 2014, Hewlett-Packard announced it was planning to split into two separate companies, separating its personal computer and printer businesses from its technology services. The split, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed by other media, would result in two publicly traded companies: Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. Meg Whitman would serve as chairman of HP Inc. and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Patricia Russo would be chairman of the enterprise business, and Dion Weisler would be CEO of HP, Inc. [79] [80] [81]

On October 29, 2014, Hewlett-Packard announced their new Sprout personal computer. [82]

In May 2015, the company announced it would be selling its controlling 51 percent stake in its Chinese data-networking business to Tsinghua Unigroup for a fee of at least $2.4 billion. [83]

On November 1, 2015, as previously announced, Hewlett-Packard legally ceased to exist and split into two companies, HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. [84] HP Inc. is the legal successor of the old Hewlett-Packard; the split was structured so that Hewlett-Packard changed its name to HP Inc. and spun off Hewlett Packard Enterprise as a new publicly traded company. HP Inc. retains Hewlett-Packard's stock price history and its stock ticker symbol, HPQ, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise trades under its own symbol, HPE. [85]

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