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The Hewlett-Packard Company, commonly known as HP, is a very large, global
company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States. Its products
are concentrated in the fields of computing, printing, and digital imaging.
It also sells software and services.
HP was founded in 1939 by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard as a manufacturer of
test and measurement instruments. Their first product was a precision audio
oscillator. Their innovation was the use of a light bulb as temperature
stabilized resistor in a critical portion of the circuit. Their first major
customer was Disney, who bought several of these oscillators for use in the
HP is acknowledged by Wired magazine as the producer of the world's first
personal computer, in 1968. 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".
The company has earned global notoriety for a variety of products. They
introduced the world's first handheld scientific electronic calculator in
1972, followed by the first handheld programmable in 1974. Like their
scientific and business calculators, their oscilloscopes, logic analyzers,
and other measurement instruments have a reputation for sturdyness and
usability (the latter products are now part of spin-off Agilent's product line).
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. As of 2003, HP's major competitors in
this growing part of the SOHO market are the companies/brands Canon, Epson,
In the 1990s HP expanded their computer product line, which initially had
been targeted at university, research, and business customers, to reach
consumers. Following this strategy, in 2002 they bought out Compaq Computer
Corp., a major player in the PC clone market since its founding in 1982. The
buyout made HP the world's largest manufacturer of personal computers.
HP is recognized as the symbolic founder of Silicon Valley. In 1987 the Palo
Alto garage where Hewlett and Packard started their business was designated
as a California State historical landmark. However, Agilent Technologies,
not HP, bears the legacy of the original instrument company founded by Bill
Hewlett and Dave Packard in 1939. Agilent was spun off from HP in 1999.
Hewlett-Packard is a leading industrial supporter of Open Source and Linux.
Many HP employees actively contribute – some have official Open Source
job responsibilities and others participate in the Open Source community as
Other HP products/technologies include:
* the HP-UX (UNIX-like) operating system
* the PA-RISC processor architecture
* the IA64 processor architecture (with Intel)
* the UDC (Utility Data Center)
* the OpenView family of management software
In 2003 HP had 140,000 employees world wide.
The current chairman and CEO is Carly Fiorina.