Hewlett-Packard – HP – surprisingly to many, is the largest high-tech company on the globe, with its roots and headquarters in Silicon Valley. HP is some 20% larger than IBM today, and no other company is close to half the size of this 0B company. However, HP has not garnered the same attention from computer historians and the media as given to companies like IBM, DEC and Apple. Why? Certainly, having no recent “big name” leader, a la Gates, Jobs or Ellison, and no “big name inventor” a la Bell, Noyce or Moore, and “no blockbuster product” a la Windows, iPod, or the IBM PC hasn’t helped. So, what is it that drove the success of this large and profitable company?
The HP Phenomenon describes how it came to be that HP – never a computing company really – got to this leadership position – in PCs, in printers, in mid-range servers, in GUI designs, in handheld calculators, and even in disc drives, not to mention microcomputer chips, communication chips, and LED display chips. Maybe more importantly, it describes a very different kind of company, one where serendipity and multiple lines of investigation and inquiry lead to very defensible competitive positions against seemingly more focused, more aggressive and more innovative companies. It even explains the unusual symbiosis between Intel, the Japanese memory manufacturers and HP chip and computer system designers that has never been told before – a story in itself that reworked an entire industry as well as competitors.
Author Chuck House is the only person in the history of HP to win the company’s Award for Meritorious Defiance. KQED's Dave Iverson will moderate a discussion with House on HP's ethos, its spirit of innovation and the complex matter of product and business strategies that drove the Company’s success. He will give us an insider’s view of a HP, whose history and evolution is really the history and evolution, he believes of the Silicon Valley.
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA, 94043