Hewlett-Packard Company, (HP)
The Hewlett-Packard Company, commonly known as HP, is currently the world's largest
information technology corporation and is known worldwide for its printers and
personal computers. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States, it has a global presence in the fields of computing,
printing, and digital imaging, and also provides software and services. The
company which once catered to engineering and medical markets now markets to
households with products such as cameras and ink cartridges found in grocery and
HP posted US$91.7 billion in annual revenue in 2006 compared to US$91.4 for
IBM, making it the world's largest technology vendor in terms of sales. HP is
now the No. 1 ranking company in worldwide personal computer shipments,
surpassing rival Dell, market research firms Gartner and IDC reported in October 2006; per Gartner, the gap between HP and Dell widened substantially at the end of 2006,
with HP taking a near 3.5% market share lead.
Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard both graduated from Stanford University in 1934.
The company originated in a garage in nearby Palo Alto while they were post-grad
students at Stanford during the Great Depression.
The partnership was formalized on January 1, 1939 with an investment of $538.
Dave won the coin toss but named their electronics manufacturing enterprise the
Of the many projects they worked on, their first financially successful
product was a precision audio oscillator, the Model 200A. Their innovation was
the use of a small light bulb as a temperature dependent resistor in a critical
portion of the circuit. This allowed them to sell the Model 200A for $54.40 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. At 33 years, it was perhaps
the longest-selling basic electronic design of all time.
One of the company's earliest customers was The Walt Disney Company, who
bought eight Model 200B oscillators (at $71.50 each) for use in certifying the
Fantasound surround sound systems installed in theaters for the movie
The company was originally rather unfocused, working on a wide range of
electronic products for industry and even agriculture. Eventually they elected
to focus on high-quality electronic test and measurement equipment. Throughout
the 1940s to well into the 1990s the company focused on making signal
generators, voltmeters, oscilloscopes, counters, and other test equipment. Their
distinguishing feature was pushing the limits of measurement range and accuracy.
For instance, almost every HP voltmeter or signal generator has one or more
extra clicks of its knobs than its competitors. HP volt- or ammeters would
measure down and up an extra 10 to 100 times the units of other meters. Although
there were good reasons why competing meters stopped at 1 volt full scale, HP
engineers figured out ways of extending the range of their equipment by a
considerable amount. They also focused on extreme accuracy and stability,
leading to a wide range of very accurate, precise, and stable frequency
counters, voltmeters, thermometers, and time standards.
The sixties and seventies
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 experimented with using
Digital Equipment Corporation minicomputers with its instruments. But after
deciding that it would be easier to buy another small design team than deal with
DEC, HP entered the computer market in 1966 with the
HP 2100 /
series of minicomputers. A simple accumulator-based design, with registers
arranged somewhat similarly to the
architecture still used today, it would last 20 years and several attempts to
replace it. It would give birth to the
HP 9800 and
HP 250 series
of desktop and business computers, which predated the PCs by nearly a decade.
The HP 3000
was an advanced stack based design for business computing server later
redesigned with RISC
technology that has only recently been retired from the market. The
series of smart and intelligent terminals introduced forms-based interfaces to
ASCII terminals, and
screen labeled function keys now commonly used on gas pumps and bank ATMs.
Although scoffed at in the formative days of computing, HP would eventually
surpass even IBM as the world's largest technology vendor in sales.
HP is acknowledged by
Wired magazine as the producer of the world's first
personal computer, in 1968, the
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
We therefore decided to call it a calculator, and all such nonsense
disappeared." An engineering triumph at the time, the logic circuit was produced
integrated circuits; the assembly of the CPU having been entirely executed
in discrete components. With
CRT readout, magnetic card storage, and printer the price was around $5000.
The company earned global respect for a variety of products. They introduced
the world's first handheld scientific electronic
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
their scientific and business calculators, their
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). The company's design philosophy in this period was
summarized as "design for the guy at the next bench".
The eighties and beyond
In 1984, HP introduced both
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
components (print engines), which in turn use technology developed by
develops the hardware, firmware, and software that convert data into dots for
the mechanism to print.
In the 1990s, HP expanded their computer product line, which initially had
been targeted at university, research, and business customers, to reach
consumers. Later in the decade HP opened hpshopping.com as an independent
subsidiary to sell online, direct to consumers; the store was rebranded "HP
Home & Home Office Store" in 2005. HP also grew through acquisitions, buying
Apollo Computer in 1989,
Convex Computer in 1995, and
Compaq in 2002.
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.
In 1987, the
Palo Alto garage where Hewlett and Packard started their business was
designated as a California State historical landmark.
In 1999, all of the businesses not related to computers, storage, and imaging
were spun off from HP to form
Agilent's spin-off was the largest
initial public offering in the history of
Silicon Valley. The spin-off created an $8 billion company with about 30,000
semiconductors, optical networking devices, and
electronic test equipment for
telecom and wireless
R&D and production. Also in July 1999, HP appointed
Fiorina as CEO. Fiorina was the first woman ever to serve as CEO of a
company included in the
Dow Jones Industrial Average. Fiorina was forced to resign on
2005.HP has a successful line of printers, scanners, digital cameras, calculators,
PDAs, servers, workstations, and home-small business computers. HP today
promotes itself as not just being a hardware and software company, but also one
that offers a full range of services to architect, implement and support today's
Imaging and Printing Group (IPG)
According to HP's 2005
U.S. SEC 10-K
HP's Imaging and Printing Group is "the leading imaging and printing systems
provider in the world for printer hardware, printing supplies and scanning
devices, providing solutions across customer segments from individual consumers
to small and medium businesses to large enterprises." This division is currently
headed by Vyomesh Joshi.
Products and technology associated with the Imaging and Printing Group
Personal Systems Group
HP's Personal Systems Group is "one of the leading vendors of personal
computers ("PCs") in the world based on unit volume shipped and annual revenue."
Personal Systems Group products/technology include:
- Consumer PCs including the HP Pavilion, Compaq Presario and
- Workstations for Unix, Windows and Linux systems.
- Handheld Computing including iPAQ Pocket PC handheld computing devices
- Digital Entertainment including DVD+RW drives,
HP Movie Writer and
HP Digital Entertainment Center. HP resold the Apple iPod from HP until
Technology Solutions Group
In HP's financial reporting, HP groups its Enterprise Storage and Servers, HP
Services and Software under Technology Solutions Group.
HP's Enterprise Storage and Servers Group has product/technology including:
ProLiant entry line of x86 based servers (from Compaq)
- the BladeSystem x86 based blade servers
- the Integrity line using the
Intel) running on several
operating systems including
- the HP AlphaServer productline using the
DEC) and running on both:
NonStop high-reliability architecture and operating system (from
- MIPs based Nonstop fault-tolerant server products
- the HP 9000
"Superdome" line of
- the StorageWorks product line, which includes business class and
enterprise class data storage and protection products.
- the ProCurve family of network switches, wireless access points, and
HP's Software division has products/technologies:
HP Labs (or HP Laboratories) is the research arm of HP. Founded in
1966, HP Labs' function is to deliver breakthrough technologies and to create
business opportunities that go beyond HP's current strategies. An example of
recent HP Lab technology includes the
Memory spot chip.
HP is a supporter of
FOSS and Linux.
Some HP employees, such as Linux CTO and former
Bdale Garbee actively contribute and have Open Source job responsibilities.
Many others participate in the Open Source community as volunteers. HP is also
known in the (GNU/)Linux community for releasing drivers for many of their
printers under the
Hewlett-Packard also works extensively with
and uses technology from most major software and hardware vendors.
Until November 2005, HP offered a re-branded version of the
Hewlett-Packard partners with many application software companies, for
example SAP AG.
HP has many sponsorships. One well known sponsorship is
Walt Disney World's
Mission: Space. Others can be found on Hewlett-Packards Website
 From 1995 to 1999 they were the shirt sponsor of English
Premier League club
Agilent Technologies, not HP, retains the direct product legacy of the
original company founded in 1939. Agilent's current portfolio of electronic
instruments are descended from HP's very earliest products. HP entered the
computer business only after its instrumentation competencies were
well-established. Agilent was spun off from HP in 1999.
The founders, known to friends and employees alike as Bill and Dave,
developed a unique management style that has come to be known as the
HP Way. In Bill's words, the HP Way is "a core ideology . . . [that]
includes a deep respect for the individual, a dedication to affordable quality
and reliability, a commitment to community responsibility, and a view that the
company exists to make technical contributions for the advancement and welfare
The HP Alumni Association maintains a tribute to Bill and Dave's version of
the HP Way, circa 1992.
Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company
they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett. Packard won, as
HP spun off a small company, Dynec, to specialize in digital equipment. The
name was picked so that the HP logo "hp" could be turned upside down to be the
logo "dy" of the new company. Eventually Dynec changed to Dymec, then was folded
back into HP.
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.
Just about every HP product in the test equipment line was labeled with three
to five digits followed by the letter "A". Improved versions went to suffixes
"B" through "D". A small handful of products somehow got bizarre model numbers,
such as the "H201-20" microwave signal generator.
Steve Wozniak originally designed the Apple I computer while working at HP,
but they turned down his offer of licensing the design to HP.
HP products were usually very rugged, with clean styling, top notch
components, and with conservative specifications, so customers were usually
pleasantly surprised when the equipment looked and worked better than expected.
There were a few missteps, however:
- In the 1960s they briefly went to painting their equipment a light
- In the early 1970s they started a line of "lower cost" test equipment with
atrociously ugly and flimsy plastic cases. The cases also got a bad case of
1970s colors, coming out in dark shag rug green and burnt orange.
- On test equipment made in the 1980s a common problem was flimsy knobs that
easily broke off.
- A very few innovative but malfunctioning products, such as the original HP
3000 computers, had to be recalled for extensive reworking.
- Co-founder and CEO:
David Packard (CEO: 1964–1969)
- Co-founder and CEO:
William Hewlett (CEO: 1969–1978)
John A. Young (1978—October
- Chairman and CEO:
Carly Fiorina (July
appointed chairman in 2000)
- Interim CEO:
Robert Wayman (February
Mark Hurd (CEO:
Patricia C. Dunn (February 2005—September
Hewlett-Packard received a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index
released by the
Human Rights Campaign starting in 2003, the second year of the report. In
addition, the company was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working
Mothers in 2004 by Working Mothers
Hewlett-Packard is also involved in the
NEPAD e-school program to provide all schools in Africa with computers and
Hewlett-Packard has used a number of innovative commercials to sell its
The Computer is Personal Again
In May 2006, the company launched a new campaign designed to bring back the
fact that the
PC (Personal Computer) is a personal product. The campaign utilized viral
marketing, sophisticated visuals, and its own web site.
Some of the ads featured well-known personalities -
Claus (voiced by
who plays him in
The Santa Clause film
Rather than show a bunch of talking heads, each advertisement showed a neck-down
view in which the endorser, aided greatly by graphics, visually showed how they
used HP products. All these personalities weren't paid millions of dollars but
brought a deal with HP to sponsor their or a selected charity group.
Two months after having created The Computer Is Personal Again, Dell followed
up with its own campaign entitled "Purely You", which seems to piggyback off the
You + HP: digital photography
A television ad campaign for Hewlett-Packard's digital photography (titled
"You + HP: digital photography") has been noted for its simple special effects
and choice of music. It won "Campaign of the Year" from Adweek magazine
Songs used in "You + HP" Campaign:
Here are summaries of a few of the dozensof
companies and product lines acquired by HP over the decades:
Data Systems, Inc.
A small 5-person company called Data Systems, Inc. Owned by a chemical
manufacturer, Union Carbide, who failed in their diversification efforts, HP
bought the group and this helped to launch the HP 2116A in 1966. A computer
designed to automate the collection and processing of data from the company’s
test and measurement devices, it marked HPs entry into the growing computer
In 1989, HP Acquired Apollo computer for $476 million. HP was able to achieve
a growth in market share after the merger; with the market at the time valued at
$4.1 billion and the fastest-growing area of the market.
In 2005, HP acquired CGNZ the New Zealand spin-off of
for an undisclosed amount. The CGNZ acquisition accelerated HP's moves into
In 1995, HP acquired
Convex Computer, a Richardson, Texas company that produced vector
minisupercomputers and supercomputers. The systems had software compatibility
with HP's PA-RISC computers and provided an immediate upgrade path. The first
32-CPU V-class systems were shipped in 1998 as a replacement for HP's aging
On April 23,
1997, HP announced
plans to acquire VeriFone, a provider of card-swipe terminals on retail
countertops to approve purchases, in a $1.18 billion
On May 10,
Technology Group acquired VeriFone from HP.
On June 7,
1999, HP acquired
Dazel Corporation, located in Austin, Texas, an output management software
January 18, 2001,
HP acquired Bluestone Software, Inc., a leading provider of B2B, B2C, and
wireless open platform solutions.
On March 22,
2002, HP acquired
a leader in digital offset color printing systems. Now the HP Indigo division is
manufacturing commercial and specialty digital printers.
On May 3,
Hewlett-Packard merged with
Compaq Computer Corporation, a controversial move intended to make the
company the personal computing leader. The merger opposition was led by
Walter Hewlett, son of HP founder William Hewlett; and by
David Woodley Packard, son of co-founder David Packard.
23, 2003, HP
PipeBeach to strengthen its leadership in the growing
interactive voice market.
September 19, 2003,
SelectAccess, a provider of access management solutions based in
Ontario, Canada, from
Baltimore Technologies as the first step towards an
Identity management offering.
On March 11,
2004, HP agreed to
TruLogica, a privately held provider of IT user-provisioning software in
USA, to integrate with the
Identity management portfolio.
On April 2,
2004, HP acquired
Novadigm which provides comprehensive management products to integrate with
the HP Software management software portfolio. This desired-state technology
enables enterprise customers to put their error-prone, repetitive and reactive
IT management tasks on cruise control – ensuring that the right resources are
automatically reallocated, tuned and configured to meet business needs.
On April 15,
2005, HP acquired
leading online photo service based in
Francisco, California, USA.
In October 2005, Hewlett-Packard acquired the private company AppIQ (short
for "Application IQ"). The company was founded in 2001 by Ash Ashutosh and David
Chang, and offered several digital storage solutions. The company had employed
up to 235 people by June 2005.
November 30, 2005,
HP announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Trustgenix,
Inc., a leading provider of federated
Identity management solutions based in
December 19, 2005,
HP completed the acquisition of Peregrine, Inc, based in
California, USA. The acquisition adds leading asset management and enhanced IT
service management capabilities to the HP OpenView management portfolio,
providing customers with comprehensive IT asset control and business insight.
February 7, 2006,
HP agreed to acquire OuterBay, a leading provider of archiving software for
enterprise applications and databases. OuterBay is headquartered in
California, USA, with offices in the US, UK, and India.
On June 6,
2006, HP announced
it was acquiring Silverwire Holding AG, a commercial digital photography
solutions and software provider with a strong presence in the retail photo
market. Silverwire is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland.
September 28, 2006,
HP announced it will expand its presence in the gaming market by acquiring
maker of high-performance gaming, luxury, and entertainment PCs based in
Alberta, Canada. This acquisition closed early in November 2006.
November 7, 2006,
HP announced that it had completed the acquisition of
Mercury Interactive (MERQ.PK), a company that provided Business Technology
Optimization software (i.e. software that helps a company govern, develop and
maintain its technology stack).
December 12, 2006,
HP announced that it was acquiring
Knightsbridge Solutions, a
Business Intelligence /
Data Warehousing consultancy based out of
December 20, 2006,
HP announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Bitfone
Corp., a privately held global software and services company that develops
software solutions for mobile device management for the wireless industry.
February 5, 2007,
HP announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bristol
Technology Inc., a leading provider of technologies that monitor business
transactions. Bristol is a private company based in Danbury, Connecticut.
February 27, 2007,
HP announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire PolyServe,
Inc., a leading provider of storage software for application and file serving
utilities. Founded in 1999, PolyServe is headquartered in Beaverton, Ore., has
117 employees and serves more than 500 customers in a variety of industries
including finance, energy and technology. Financial terms of the transaction
were not disclosed. HP had an existing relationship with the company OEMing some
of their products as the HP StorageWorks Enterprise File Services Clustered
On March 22,
2007, HP announced
it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Tabblo Inc., a privately-held
developer of web-based software located in Cambridge, Mass.
HP plans to leverage Tabblo’s technologies to make printing from the web
easier and more convenient than it is today. Tabblo’s technology allows people
to simply and efficiently arrange and print text, graphics and photos from the
web. This is made possible by Tabblo’s custom template engine, using an
HP plans to make this simple-to-use web-printing experience broadly available
to people by working with other companies to integrate the technology into their
websites. Together, HP and its partner companies will provide customers with a
vastly improved web-based printing experience to meet the ever-growing need for
simplified Internet-based printing.
Major competitors of HP in the computer business include
Non-server Personal Computer Business),
Major competitors of HP in the server business include
Sun Microsystems, IBM
and Dell. Major
competitors of HP in the printer business include
(who rebrands and repackages Lexmark products). Upon acquiring
HP and its newest subdivision will compete in the enthusiast market against
(A division of Dell),
HP pretexting scandal
On September 5, 2006 Newsweek published a story revealing that the chairwoman
of HP, Patricia Dunn, had hired a team of independent electronic-security
experts that later spied on HP board members and several journalists, to
determine the source of leak of confidential details regarding HP's long-term
strategy in January, 2006. They used a technique known as pretexting to obtain
call records of HP board members and nine journalists, including reporters for
CNET, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Dunn has claimed she did
not know beforehand the methods the investigators used to try and determine the
source of the leak. Board member George Keyworth was ultimately outed as the source.
On September 12, 2006 Keyworth resigned and HP announced that Mark Hurd, the
current CEO, would replace Dunn as Chairman after the HP board meeting on
January 18, 2007.
September 22, 2006
Hurd announced at a special press conference that Ms. Dunn had resigned
effective immediately from both the Chairmanship and the Board;
On September 28, 2006, Ann Baskins, HP's general counsel (head attorney)
resigned hours before she was to appear as a witness at which she would later
invoke the Fifth Amendment to refuse to answer questions.
On October 3, 2006, it was announced that Dunn would undergo chemotherapy to
treat stage 4 ovarian cancer.
Investigation by the government
On October 4, 2006, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed criminal
charges and arrest warrants against Kevin Hunsaker, Dunn and three outside
investigators. On September 11, 2006, the United States House Committee on
Energy and Commerce wrote to Patricia Dunn stating that they have been
conducting an investigation on Internet-based data brokers who allegedly use
"lies, fraud and deception" to acquire personal information, and allow anyone
who paid a "modest fee" to acquire "itemized incoming and outgoing call logs",
and when had learned about HP's use of pretexting through their September 6 SEC filing and through their own inquiry of HP's Nominating and Governance
Committee, stating they are "troubled" by the information, "particularly that it
involves HP—one of America's corporate icons."
The committee requested, under Rules X and XI of the
United States House of Representatives, information from HP by September 18,
September 28, 2006
hearing, Dunn and Hurd
both testified extensively about the investigation. Dunn testified that until
June or July 2006, she did not realize that "pretexting" could involve identity
misrepresentation. Dunn repeatedly insisted that she had believed that personal
phone records could be obtained through legal methods.
Other witnesses refused to answer questions due to the ongoing criminal
In March 2002, HP announced that it would no longer manufacture financial and
scientific calculators – a product line and, indeed, a market, that HP had
started thirty years before. HP later recanted and stated in a press release,
"The bottom line is that HP calculators are here to stay and they are going to
be better than ever, giving our customers more than ever."
The extremely popular
HP-12C financial calculator, introduced in 1981, still remains in production
In 1994, HP decided to outsource its manufacturing to third-party vendors and
overseas countries in order to lower costs and raise profits. Today, desktop
computers are assembled in Guadalajara, Mexico where HP employs approximately
1,500 workers. Notebook computers are assembled in China from third-party
vendors. Servers and workstations are still assembled in the United States.
In 2003, HP had 140,000
world wide. Under HP's current restructuring program, HP began reducing its
workforce to lower its costs. By 2006, HP experienced a record profit of $1.5
billion in just one quarter.
HP and the environment
HP has been criticized by
among others. Greenpeace and other environmental groups have alleged HP of poor
environmental standards, specifically in relation to the elimination of
hazardous substances from products as specified by the
RoHS guidelines for
brominated flame retardants and
PVC. Greenpeace is
also accusing HP of not doing enough to recycle computers and other technology
Greenpeace's criticism of the technology industry is not limited exclusively
to HP, as competitors such as
have also come under fire for alleged similar practices.
All electronics companies are under pressure from the
Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) to limit the use of
certain hazardous materials in the manufacture of electronic and electrical