Compaq, a name that once dominated the world of personal computing, has a rich history that is worth exploring. From its inception to its eventual merger with Hewlett-Packard, Compaq’s journey is a testament to the rapid evolution of the tech industry. This article delves into the background of Compaq, its founders, revenue, and more, providing a comprehensive overview of this once-giant of the computing world.

Background of Compaq

Compaq Computer Corporation was an American information technology company founded in 1982. The company’s name, “Compaq”, was derived from “Compatibility and Quality”, reflecting its initial business model of producing IBM PC compatible computers. Compaq was known for producing some of the first IBM PC clones that were legally reverse-engineered.

The Founders

Compaq was founded by Rod Canion, Jim Harris, and Bill Murto, three senior managers from semiconductor manufacturer Texas Instruments. The trio left Texas Instruments and invested $1,000 each to form their own company. Their vision was to create a portable version of the IBM personal computer, which was a revolutionary idea at the time.

Early Success and Innovation

Compaq’s first product, the Compaq Portable, was a commercial success, selling 53,000 units in the first year. This portable computer could run exactly the same software as the IBM PC, making it instantly popular. Compaq continued to innovate, introducing the first PC based on Intel’s 80386 microprocessor in 1986.

Revenue Growth

Compaq’s revenue growth was nothing short of phenomenal. By 1991, just nine years after its founding, Compaq reached $3 billion in revenue, making it the youngest-ever Fortune 500 company. At its peak in 1998, Compaq’s revenue was a staggering $31.2 billion.

Challenges and Acquisition

Despite its early success, Compaq faced challenges in the late 1990s due to the rise of low-cost PC manufacturers and a shift in consumer preference towards laptops and handheld devices. In 2001, in a bid to diversify its product line and increase market share, Compaq was acquired by Hewlett-Packard (HP) for $25 billion.

Legacy of Compaq

Although Compaq as a standalone company no longer exists, its legacy lives on. The Compaq brand was used by HP for lower-end systems until 2013, and the name still resonates with many who remember the early days of personal computing. Compaq’s story serves as a reminder of the rapid pace of change in the tech industry and the importance of continual innovation.

In conclusion, Compaq’s journey from a startup to a Fortune 500 company and its eventual merger with HP is a fascinating study in the evolution of the tech industry. Despite the challenges it faced, Compaq’s innovative spirit and commitment to quality left an indelible mark on the world of personal computing.


Alex likes to write about anything related to technology, marketing and gadgets. He sometimes reviews the latest tech and also writes on other blogs.