The leading PC manufacturer when acquired by HP in 2002. Compaq, which stood for "compatibility and quality," was founded in 1982 by Rod Canion, Jim Harris and Bill Murto, all from Texas Instruments. One year later, Compaq shipped 53,000 IBM PC-compatible COMPAQ Portables running MS-DOS, and the USD $111 million revenue was an American business record. Compaq's success was due to enabling the machine to run all software written for the IBM PC, a task others had not yet accomplished as thoroughly (see ROM BIOS
). See PC clone
In 1984, Compaq introduced its DESKPRO desktop computers and achieved a sales record in its second year. In 1986, it was the first to offer a 386-based machine. Throughout its history, Compaq was well respected for its high-quality products and innovations. Maintaining this high profile kept it from initially competing with the mail order houses that were dramatically driving down prices in the 1990s. Compaq later became competitive and a leading vendor in the mass market stores.
In 1997, Compaq acquired Tandem Computers, the first company to build fault-tolerant computers from the ground up. Tandem brought Compaq a strong background in high-availability systems for mission critical applications. In 1998, Compaq acquired Digital Equipment Corporation, one of the oldest computer companies. Digital's presence in major companies, plus its large service organization, added an enterprise presence for Compaq. See Digital Equipment
Canion, Harris and Murto (left to right) founded one of the most successful computer companies in the industry. (Image courtesy of Compaq Computer Corporation.)
The COMPAQ Portable
The COMPAQ Portable was the first completely IBM-compatible PC. Its rugged construction and "luggability" (30 pounds) made it a huge success. (Image courtesy of Compaq Computer Corporation.)