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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.

Table of contents
1 Company history
2 HP today
3 External links

Company history

HP was founded in 1939 by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, who had both graduated from Stanford University in 1934, as a manufacturer of test and measurement instruments. Their first product was a precision audio oscillator, the Model 200A. Their innovation was the use of a light bulb as a temperature stabilized 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. One of their earliest customers was Disney, who bought eight Model 200B oscillators (at $71.50 each) for use in testing sound systems for the movie Fantasia.

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 earned global respect 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 ink jet 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 Brother, Canon, Epson, and Lexmark.

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 both the stationary and portable PC clone markets since its founding in 1982 (and buyer of DEC, in 1998). The buyout made HP the world's largest manufacturer of personal computers.

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 already abandoned William Shockley to create Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957. Its HP Associates division, established around 1960, developed semiconductor devices primarily for internal use.

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.

HP today

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 unpaid volunteers.

Other HP products/technologies include:

In 2003 HP had 140,000 employees world wide.
The current chairman and CEO is Carly Fiorina, the first woman to ever serve as CEO of a company included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

External links

HP Corporate: