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768px-HP_logo_2012.svgLast logo of Hewlett-Packard used from 2010 to 2015; now used by HP Inc.


HP headquarters in Palo Alto, California, U.S.


  • Former type: Public
  • Traded as: NYSE: HPQ
  • Industry:
    • Computer hardware
    • Computer software
    • IT services
    • IT consulting
  • Fate: Split into two companies
  • Successor: HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Founded: January 1, 1939; 78 years ago
  • Founders:
    • William Redington Hewlett and
    • David Packard
  • Defunct: November 1, 2015 (main company) (For Hewlett Packard Enterprise).
  • Now operating as HP Inc.
  • Headquarters: Palo Alto, California, U.S.
  • Area served: Worldwide
  • Products: See list of HP products.
  • Subsidiaries: List of subsidiaries
  • Website: www  dot hp dot  com

The Hewlett-Packard Company (commonly referred to as HP) or shortened to Hewlett-Packard (/ˈhjuːlɪt ˈpækərd/ HEW-lit PAK-erd) was an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Palo Alto, California. It developed and provided a wide variety of hardware components as well as software and related services to consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises, including customers in the government, health and education sectors.

The company was founded in a one-car garage in Palo Alto by William “Bill” Redington Hewlett and David “Dave” Packard, and initially produced a line of electronic test equipment. HP was the world’s leading PC manufacturer from 2007 to Q2 2013, after which Lenovo came to rank ahead of HP. It specialized in developing and manufacturing computing, data storage, and networking hardware, designing software and delivering services. Major product lines included personal computing devices, enterprise and industry standard servers, related storage devices, networking products, software and a diverse range of printers and other imaging products. HP marketed its products to households, small- to medium-sized businesses and enterprises directly as well as via online distribution, consumer-electronics and office-supply retailers, software partners and major technology vendors. HP also had services and consulting business around its products and partner products.

Hewlett-Packard company events included the spin-off of its electronic and bio-analytical measurement instruments part of its business as Agilent Technologies in 1999, its merger with Compaq in 2002, and the acquisition of EDS in 2008, which led to combined revenues of $118.4 billion in 2008 and a Fortune 500 ranking of 9 in 2009. In November 2009, HP announced the acquisition of 3Com, with the deal closing on April 12, 2010. On April 28, 2010, HP announced the buyout of Palm, Inc. for $1.2 billion. On September 2, 2010, HP won its bidding war for 3PAR with a $33 a share offer ($2.07 billion), which Dell declined to match.

On October 6, 2014, Hewlett-Packard announced plans to split the PC and printers business from its enterprise products and services business. The split closed on November 1, 2015, and resulted in two publicly traded companies: HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. In 2017, Hewlett Packard Enterprise spun-off its Enterprises Services division as DXC Technology and its Software division to Micro Focus.



 The garage in Palo Alto where Hewlett and Packard began their company


 Hewlett-Packard logo used from 1941 to 1964

William Redington Hewlett and David Packard graduated with degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1935. The company originated in a garage in nearby Palo Alto during a fellowship they had with a past professor, Frederick Terman at Stanford during the Great Depression. Terman was considered a mentor to them in forming Hewlett-Packard. In 1939, Packard and Hewlett established Hewlett-Packard (HP) in Packard’s garage with an initial capital investment of US$538. Hewlett and Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett. HP incorporated on August 18, 1947, and went public on November 6, 1957.

Of the many projects they worked on, their very first financially successful product was a precision audio oscillator, the Model HP200A. Their innovation was the use of a small incandescent light bulb (known as a “pilot light”) as a temperature dependent resistor in a critical portion of the circuit, the negative feedback loop which stabilized the amplitude of the output sinusoidal waveform. This allowed them to sell the Model 200A for $89.40 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.

One of the company’s earliest customers was Walt Disney Productions which bought eight Model 200B oscillators (at $71.50 each) for use in certifying the Fantasound surround sound systems installed in theaters for the movie Fantasia.

They worked on counter-radar technology and artillery shell fuses during World War II, which allowed Packard (but not Hewlett) to be exempt from the draft.


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 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. HP and Yokogawa formed a joint venture (Yokogawa-Hewlett-Packard) in 1963 to market HP products in Japan. HP bought Yokogawa Electric’s share of Hewlett-Packard Japan in 1999.

HP spun off a small company, Dynac, to specialize in digital equipment. The name was picked so that the HP logo “hp” could be turned upside down to be a reverse reflect image of the logo “dy” of the new company. Eventually Dynac changed to Dymec, then was folded back into HP in 1959. HP experimented with using Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) minicomputers with its instruments, but after deciding that it would be easier to build another small design team than deal with DEC, HP entered the computer market in 1966 with the HP 2100 / HP 1000 series of minicomputers. These had a simple accumulator-based design, with registers arranged somewhat similarly to the Intel x86 architecture still used today. The series was produced for 20 years, in spite of several attempts to replace it, and was a forerunner of the HP 9800 and HP 250 series of desktop and business computers.



 Hewlett-Packard logo used from 1964 to 1979


 Introduced in 1968, “The new Hewlett-Packard 9100A personal computer is ready, willing, and able … to relieve you of waiting to get on the big computer.”

The HP 3000 was an advanced stack-based design for a business computing server, later redesigned with RISC technology. The HP 2640 series of smart and intelligent terminals introduced forms-based interfaces to ASCII terminals, and also introduced screen labeled function keys, now commonly used on gas pumps and bank ATMs. The HP 2640 series included one of the first bit mapped graphics displays that when combined with the HP 2100 21MX F-Series microcoded Scientific Instruction Set enabled the first commercial WYSIWYG Presentation Program, BRUNO that later became the program HP-Draw on the HP 3000. Although scoffed at in the formative days of computing, HP would eventually surpass even IBM as the world’s largest technology vendor, in terms of sales.

Although Programma 101 was the first commercial “desktop computer”, HP is identified by Wired magazine as the producer of the world’s first device to be called a personal computer, the Hewlett-Packard 9100A, introduced in 1968. Programma 101 was called “computer personale” (in Italian), at Fiera di Milano, 1966. 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.” An engineering triumph at the time, the logic circuit was produced without any integrated circuits; the assembly of the CPU having been entirely executed in discrete components. With CRT display, magnetic-card storage, and printer, the price was around $5,000. The machine’s keyboard was a cross between that of a scientific calculator and an adding machine. There was no alphabetic keyboard.

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, originally designed the Apple I computer while working at HP and offered it to them under their right of first refusal to his work, but they did not take it up as the company wanted to stay in scientific, business, and industrial markets. Wozniak said that HP “turned him down 5 times.” Wozniak said his loyalty to HP made him hesitant to start Apple with Steve Jobs.

The company earned global respect for a variety of products. They introduced the world’s first handheld scientific electronic calculator 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, the HP-28C. Like their scientific and business calculators, their oscilloscopes, 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 98×5 series of technical desktop computers started in 1975 with the 9815, and the cheaper 80 series, again of technical computers, started in 1979 with the 85. These machines used a version of the BASIC programming language which was available immediately after they were switched on, and used a proprietary magnetic tape for storage. HP computers were similar in capabilities to the much later IBM Personal Computer, although the limitations of available technology forced prices to be high.



Hewlett-Packard logo used from 1979 to 2010

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. The print mechanisms in HP’s tremendously popular LaserJet line of laser printers depend almost entirely on Canon Inc.’s components (print engines), which in turn use technology developed by Xerox. HP develops the hardware, firmware, and software that convert data into dots for the mechanism to print.

On March 3, 1986, HP registered the HP.com domain name, making it the ninth Internet .com domain ever to be registered.

In 1987, the Palo Alto garage where Hewlett and Packard started their business was designated as a California State historical landmark.


In the 1990s, HP expanded their computer product line, which initially had been targeted at university, research, and business users, to reach consumers. HP also grew through acquisitions. It bought Apollo Computer in 1989 and Convex Computer in 1995.

Later in the decade, HP opened hpshopping.com as an independent subsidiary to sell online, direct to consumers; in 2005, the store was renamed “HP Home & Home Office Store.”

From 1995 to 1998, Hewlett-Packard were sponsors of the English football team Tottenham Hotspur.

In 1999, all of the businesses not related to computers, storage, and imaging were spun off from HP to form Agilent Technologies. 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 employees, manufacturing scientific instruments, semiconductors, optical networking devices, and electronic test equipment for telecom and wireless R&D and production.

In July 1999, HP appointed Carly Fiorina as CEO, the first female CEO of a Fortune-20 company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Fiorina served as CEO during the technology downturn of the early 2000s. During her tenure, HP laid off 30,000 U.S. employees in order to save 80,000 jobs. The company then grew to 150,000 jobs. Under her leadership, the company doubled in size. The HP Board of Directors asked Fiorina to step down in 2005 following a boardroom disagreement, and she resigned on February 9, 2005. Tom Perkins, who as a board member led efforts to force Fiorina out, stated years later that doing so was a “mistake”.

Sales to Iran Despite Sanctions

In 1997, HP sold over $120 million worth of its printers and computer products to Iran through a European subsidiary and a Dubai-based East distributor, despite U.S. export sanctions prohibiting such deals imposed by Bill Clinton’s executive orders issued in 1995. The story was initially reported by The Boston Globe, and it triggered an inquiry by the SEC. HP responded that products worth US$120 million were sold in fiscal year 2008 for distribution by way of Redington Gulf, a company based in the Netherlands, and that as these sales took place through a foreign subsidiary, HP had not violated sanctions.

HP named Redington Gulf “Wholesaler of the Year” in 2003, which in turn published a press release stating that “[t]he seeds of the Redington-Hewlett-Packard relationship were sowed six years ago for one market — Iran.” At that time, Redington Gulf had only three employees whose sole purpose was to sell HP products to the Iran market. According to former officials who worked on sanctions, HP was using a loophole by routing their sales through a foreign subsidiary. HP ended its relationship with Redington Gulf after the SEC inquiry.



 Hewlett-Packard Deskjet 3845 printer

On September 3, 2001, HP announced that an agreement had been reached with Compaq to merge the two companies. In May 2002, after passing a shareholder vote, HP officially merged with Compaq. Prior to this, plans had been in place to consolidate the companies’ product teams and product lines.

Compaq had already taken over Digital Equipment Corporation in 1998. HP therefore still offers support for the former Digital Equipment products PDP-11, VAX and AlphaServer.

The merger occurred after a proxy fight with Bill Hewlett’s son Walter, who objected to the merger. 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. After the merger with Compaq, the new ticker symbol became “HPQ”, a combination of the two previous symbols, “HWP” and “CPQ”, to show the significance of the alliance and also key letters from the two companies Hewlett-Packard and Compaq (the latter company being famous for its “Q” logo on all of its products).

In 2004, HP released the DV 1000 Series, including the HP Pavilion dv 1658 and 1040 two years later in May 2006, HP began its campaign, “The Computer is Personal Again”. The campaign was designed to bring back the fact that the PC is a personal product. The campaign utilized viral marketing, sophisticated visuals and its own website (www.hp.com/personal). Some of the ads featured Pharrell, Petra Nemcova, Mark Burnett, Mark Cuban, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani, and Shaun White.



 A sign marking the entrance to the HP corporate headquarters in Palo Alto, California, 2006

On May 13, 2008, HP and Electronic Data Systems (EDS) announced that they had signed a definitive agreement under which HP would purchase EDS. On June 30, HP announced that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 had expired. “The transaction still requires EDS stockholder approval and regulatory clearance from the European Commission and other non-U.S. jurisdictions and is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the other closing conditions specified in the merger agreement.” The agreement was finalized on August 26, 2008 at $13 billion, and it was publicly announced that EDS would be re-branded “EDS a HP company.” The first targeted layoff of 24,600 former EDS workers was announced on September 15, 2008. (The company’s 2008 Annual Report gave the number as 24,700, to be completed by end of 2009.[44]) This round was factored into purchase price as a $19.5 billion liability against goodwill. As of September 23, 2009, EDS is known as HP Enterprise Services.


 iPAQ 112 Pocket PC from 2008

On November 11, 2009, 3Com and Hewlett-Packard announced that Hewlett-Packard would be acquiring 3Com for $2.7 billion in cash. The acquisition is one of the biggest in size among a series of takeovers and acquisitions by technology giants to push their way to become one-stop shops. Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007, tech giants have constantly felt the pressure to expand beyond their current market niches. Dell purchased Perot Systems recently to invade into the technology consulting business area previously dominated by IBM. Hewlett-Packard’s latest move marked its incursion into enterprise networking gear market dominated by Cisco.


On April 28, 2010, Palm, Inc. and Hewlett-Packard announced that HP would buy Palm for $1.2 billion in cash and debt. Before this announcement, it was rumored that either HTC, Dell, Research in Motion or HP would buy Palm. Adding Palm handsets to the HP product line created some overlap with the iPAQ series of mobile devices but was thought to significantly improve HP’s mobile presence as iPAQdevices had not been selling well. Buying Palm gave HP a library of valuable patents, as well as the mobile operating platform known as webOS. On July 1, 2010, the acquisition of Palm was final. The purchase of Palm’s webOS began a big gamble – to build HP’s own ecosystem. On July 1, 2011, HP launched its first tablet named HP TouchPad, bringing webOS to tablet devices. On September 2, 2010, HP won its bidding war for 3PAR with a $33 a share offer ($2.07 billion) which Dell declined to match. After HP’s acquisition of Palm, it phased out the Compaq brand.

On August 6, 2010, CEO Mark Hurd resigned amid controversy and CFO Cathie Lesjak assumed the role of interim CEO. Hurd had turned HP around and was widely regarded as one of Silicon Valley’s star CEOs, but was accused of sexual harassment against a colleague. Although the allegations were deemed baseless, the investigation led to questions concerning between $1000 and $20000 of his private expenses and his lack of disclosure related to the friendship. Some observers have argued that Hurd was innocent, but the board asked for his resignation to avoid negative PR. Public analysis was divided between those who saw it as a commendable tough action by HP in handling expenses irregularities, and those who saw it as an ill-advised, hasty and expensive reaction, in ousting a remarkably capable leader who had turned the business around. Shares of HP dropped by 8.4% in after-hours trading, hitting a 52-week low with $9 billion in market capitalization shaved off. Larry Ellison publicly attacked HP’s board for his ousting.

On September 30, 2010, Léo Apotheker was named as HP’s new CEO and President. Apotheker’s appointment sparked a strong reaction from Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison, who complained that Apotheker had been in charge of SAP when one of its subsidiaries was systematically stealing software from Oracle. SAP accepted that its subsidiary, which has now closed, illegally accessed Oracle intellectual property. Following Hurd’s departure, HP was seen by the market as problematic, with margins falling and having failed to redirect and establish itself in major new markets such as cloud and mobile services.

Apotheker’s strategy was broadly to aim at disposing of hardware and moving into the more profitable software services sector. On August 18, 2011, HP announced that it would strategically exit the smartphone and tablet computer business, focusing on higher-margin “strategic priorities of Cloud, solutions and software with an emphasis on enterprise, commercial and government markets” They also contemplated selling off their personal computer division or spinning it off into a separate company, quitting the ‘PC’ business, while continuing to sell servers and other equipment to business customers, was a strategy already undertaken by IBM in 2005.

HP’s stock continued to drop, by about a further 40% (including 25% on one day, August 19, 2011), after the company abruptly announced a number of decisions: to discontinue its webOS device business (mobile phones and tablet computers), the intent to sell its personal computer division (at the time HP was the largest personal computer manufacturer in the world), and to acquire British big data software firm Autonomy for a 79% premium, seen externally as an “absurdly high” price for a business with known concerns over its accounts. Media analysts described HP’s actions as a “botched strategy shift” and a “chaotic” attempt to rapidly reposition HP and enhance earnings that ultimately cost Apotheker his job. The Autonomy acquisition had been objected to even by HP’s own CFO.

On September 22, 2011, the HP Board of Directors fired Apotheker as chief executive, effective immediately, and replaced him with fellow board member and former eBay chief Meg Whitman, with Raymond J. Lane as executive chairman. Though Apotheker served barely ten months, he received over $13 million in compensation. HP lost more than $30 billion in market capitalization during his tenure. Weeks later, HP announced that a review had concluded their PC division was too integrated and critical to business operations, and the company reaffirmed their commitment to the Personal Systems Group. A year later in November 2012 wrote-down almost $9 billion related to the Autonomy acquisition (see below: Takeover of Autonomy), which became the subject of intense litigation as HP accused Autonomy’s previous management of fraudulently exaggerating Autonomy’s financial position and called in law enforcement and regulators in both countries, and Autonomy’s previous management accused HP of “textbook” obfuscation and finger pointing to protect HP’s executives from criticism and conceal HP culpability, their prior knowledge of Autonomy’s financial position, and gross mismanagement of Autonomy after acquisition.

On March 21, 2012, HP said its printing and PC divisions would become one unit headed by Todd Bradley from the PC division. Printing chief Vyomesh Joshi is leaving the company.

On May 23, 2012, HP announced plans to lay off approximately 27,000 employees, after posting a profit decline of 31% in the second quarter of 2012. The profit decline is on account of the growing popularity of smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, that has slowed the sale of personal computers.

On May 30, 2012, HP unveiled its first net zero energy data center. HP data center plans to use solar energy and other renewable sources instead of traditional power grids.

On July 10, 2012, HP’s Server Monitoring Software was discovered to have a previously unknown security vulnerability. A security warning was given to customers about two vulnerabilities, and a patch released. One month later, HP’s official site of training center was hacked and defaced by a Pakistani hacker known to as ‘Hitcher’ to demonstrate a web vulnerability.

On September 10, 2012, HP revised their restructuring figures; they are now cutting 29,000 jobs. HP had already cut 3,800 jobs – around 7 percent of the revised 29,000 figure – as of July 2012.


On December 31, 2013, HP revised the amount of jobs cut from 29,000 to 34,000 up to October 2014. The current amount of jobs cut until the end of 2013 was 24,600. At the end of 2013 the company had 317,500 employees. On May 22, 2014 HP announced it would cut a further 11,000 to 16,000 jobs, in addition to the 34,000 announced in 2013. “We are gradually shaping HP into a more nimble, lower-cost, more customer and partner-centric company that can successfully compete across a rapidly changing IT landscape,” CEO Meg Whitman said at the time.

In June 2014, during the HP Discover customer event in Las Vegas, Meg Whitman and Martin Fink announced a project for a radically new computer architecture called The Machine. Based on memristors and silicon photonics, The Machine is supposed to come in commercialization before the end of the decade, meanwhile representing 75% of the research activity in HP Labs.

On October 6, 2014, Hewlett-Packard announced it was planning to split into two separate companies, separating its personal computer and printer businesses from its technology services. The split, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed by other media, would result in two publicly traded companies: Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. Meg Whitman would serve as chairman of HP Inc. and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Patricia Russo would be chairman of the enterprise business, and Dion Weisler would be CEO of HP, Inc.

On October 29, 2014, Hewlett-Packard announced their new Sprout personal computer.

In May 2015, the company announced it would be selling its controlling 51 percent stake in its Chinese data-networking business to Tsinghua Unigroup for a fee of at least $2.4 billion.

On November 1, 2015, as previously announced, Hewlett-Packard legally ceased to exist and split into two companies, HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. HP Inc. is the legal successor of the old Hewlett-Packard; the split was structured so that Hewlett-Packard changed its name to HP Inc. and spun off Hewlett Packard Enterprise as a new publicly traded company. HP Inc. retains Hewlett-Packard’s stock price history and its stock ticker symbol, HPQ, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise trades under its own symbol, HPE.



 The research center of Hewlett-Packard in the Paris-Saclay cluster, France.

HP’s global operations are directed from its headquarters in Palo Alto, California, USA. Its U.S. operations are directed from its facility in unincorporated Harris County, Texas, near Houston. Its Latin America offices are in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, U.S., near Miami; Its Europe offices are in Meyrin, Switzerland, near Geneva, but it has also a research center in the Paris-Saclay cluster, 20 km south of Paris, France. Its Asia-Pacific offices are in Singapore.

It also has large operations in Leixlip, Ireland; Austin, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Corvallis, Oregon; Fort Collins, Colorado; Roseville, California; Saint Petersburg, Florida; San Diego, California; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Vancouver, Washington; and Plano, Texas (the former headquarters of EDS, which HP acquired). In the UK, HP is based at a large site in Bracknell, Berkshire with offices in various UK locations, including a landmark office tower in London, 88 Wood Street. Its recent acquisition of 3Com will expand its employee base to Marlborough, Massachusetts. The company also has a large workforce and numerous offices in Bucharest, Romania and at Bangalore, India, to address their back end and IT operations. MphasiS, which is headquartered at Bangalore, also enabled HP to increase their footprint in the city as it was a subsidiary of EDS which the company acquired.

Products and Organizational Structure


 HP office in Japan

HP produces lines of printers, scanners, digital cameras, calculators, PDAs, servers, workstation computers, and computers for home and small-business use; many of the computers came from the 2002 merger with Compaq. HP as of 2001 promotes itself as supplying not just hardware and software, but also a full range of services to design, implement, and support IT infrastructure.


HP Presario F700 F767CL

HP’s Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) was described by the company in 2005 as “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”.


 iPAQ h4150 Pocket PC from 2003


 An HP camera with an SDIO interface, designed for use in conjunction with a Pocket PC

Products and Technology Associated with IPG include:

  • Inkjet and LaserJet printers
  • consumables and related products
  • Officejet all-in-one multifunction printer/scanner/faxes
  • Designjet and Scitex Large Format Printers
  • Indigo Digital Press
  • HP Web Jetadmin printer management software
  • HP Output Management suite of software
  • LightScribe optical recording technology
  • HP Photosmart digital cameras and photo printers
  • HP SPaM
  • Snapfish by HP, a photo sharing and photo products service.

On December 23, 2008, HP released iPrint Photo for iPhone, a free downloadable software application that allows the printing of 4″ x 6″ photos.

HP’s Personal Systems Group (PSG) claims to be “one of the leading vendors of personal computers (“PCs”) in the world based on unit volume shipped and annual revenue.”

PSG deals with:

  • business PCs and accessories
  • consumer PCs and accessories, (e.g., HP Pavilion, Compaq Presario, VoodooPC)
  • handheld computing (e.g., iPAQ Pocket PC)
  • digital “connected” entertainment (e.g., HP MediaSmart TVs, HP MediaSmart
  • Servers, HP MediaVaults, DVD+RW drives)

HP resold the Apple iPod until November 2005.

HP Enterprise Business (EB) incorporates HP Technology Services, Enterprise Services (an amalgamation of the former EDS, and what was known as HP Services), HP Enterprise Security Services oversees professional services such as network security, information security and information assurance/ compliancy, HP Software Division, and Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking Group (ESSN). The Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking Group (ESSN) oversees “back end” products like storage and servers. HP Networking (former ProCurve) is responsible for the NW family of products. They are a business unit of ESSN.

HP Software Division is the company’s enterprise software unit. For years,[when?] HP has produced and marketed its brand of enterprise-management software, HP OpenView. From September 2005 HP purchased several software companies as part of a publicized, deliberate strategy to augment its software offerings for large business customers.

HP Software sells several categories of software, including:

  • business service management software
  • application lifecycle management software
  • mobile apps
  • big data and analytics
  • service and portfolio management software
  • automation and orchestration software
  • enterprise security softwareArcSight
  • Fortify Software
  • Atalla
  • TippingPoint

HP Software also provides software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing solutions, and software services, including consulting, education, professional services, and support.

HP’s Office of Strategy and Technology has four main functions:

  • steering the company’s $3.6 billion research and development investment
  • fostering the development of the company’s global technical community
  • eading the company’s strategy and corporate development efforts,
  • erforming worldwide corporate marketing activities

Under the Office of Strategy and Technology comes HP Labs, the research arm of HP. Founded in 1966, HP Labs aims to deliver new technologies and to create business opportunities that go beyond HP’s current strategies. Examples of recent HP Labs technology includes the Memory spot chip of 2006. HP IdeaLab further provides a web forum on early-state innovations to encourage open feedback from consumers and the development community.

HP also offers managed services by which they provide complete IT-support solutions for other companies and organizations.

Some examples of these include:

  • offering “Professional Support” and desktop “Premier Support” for Microsoft in the EMEA marketplace. This is done from the Leixlip campus near Dublin, Sofia and Israel. Support is offered on the line of Microsoft operation systems,
  • Exchange, Sharepoint and some office-applications.
  • outsourced services for companies like Bank of Ireland, some UK banks, the U.S. defense forces.
  • the computerisation project at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Staff and Culture

The founders developed a management style that came to be known as “The HP Way.” In Hewlett’s words, the HP Way is “a core ideology … which 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 of humanity.”

The following are the tenets of The HP Way:

  • We have trust and respect for individuals.
  • We focus on a high level of achievement and contribution.
  • We conduct our business with uncompromising integrity.
  • We achieve our common objectives through teamwork.
  • We encourage flexibility and innovation.

Notable People

  • Michael Capellas (Compaq CEO/Chairman – HP President)[107]
  • Barney Oliver, founder and director of HP laboratories
  • Steve Wozniak
  • Tom Perkins
  • Carly Fiorina, 2016 Republican presidential candidate
  • Matt Shaheen, management consultant executive at HP Enterprise Services in
  • Plano, Texas; Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives
  • List of HP Chairmen and CEOs
  • John Schultz (HP Lawyer – Oracle Lawsuit)

Corporate Social Responsibility

In July 2007, the company announced that it had met its target, set in 2004, to recycle one billion pounds of electronics, toner and ink cartridges. It set a new goal of recycling a further two billion pounds of hardware by the end of 2010. In 2006, the company recovered 187 million pounds of electronics, 73 percent more than its closest competitor.

In 2008, HP released its supply chain emissions data — an industry first.

In September 2009, Newsweek ranked HP No. 1 on its 2009 Green Rankings of America’s 500 largest corporations. According to environmentalleader.com, “Hewlett-Packard earned its number one position due to its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction programs, and was the first major IT company to report GHG emissions associated with its supply chain, according to the ranking. In addition, HP has made an effort to remove toxic substances from its products, though Greenpeace has targeted the company for not doing better.”

HP took the top spot on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens List for 2010. The list is cited by PR Week as one of America’s most important business rankings. HP beat out other Russell 1000 Index companies because of its leadership in seven categories including environment, climate changes and corporate philanthropy. In 2009, HP was ranked fifth.

Fortune magazine named HP one of the World’s Most Admired Companies in 2010, placing it No. 2 in the computer industry and No. 32 overall in its list of the top 50. This year in the computer industry HP was ranked No. 1 in social responsibility, long-term investment, global competitiveness, and use of corporate assets.

In May 2011, HP released a Global Responsibility report covering accomplishments during 2010. The report, the company’s tenth, provides a comprehensive view of HP’s global citizenship programs, performance, and goals and describes how HP uses its technology, influence, and expertise to make a positive impact on the world. The company’s 2009 report won best corporate responsibility report of the year. The 2009 reports claims HP decreased its total energy use by 9 percent compared with 2008. HP recovered a total of 118,000 tonnes of electronic products and supplies for recycling in 2009, including 61 million print cartridges.

In an April 2010 San Francisco Chronicle article, HP was one of 12 companies commended for “designing products to be safe from the start, following the principles of green chemistry.” The commendations came from Environment California, an environmental advocacy group, who praised select companies in the Golden State and the Bay Area for their efforts to keep our planet clean and green.

In May 2010, HP was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute. This is the second year in a row HP has made the list. Ethisphere reviewed, researched and analyzed thousands of nominations in more than 100 countries and 35 industries to create the 2010 list. HP was one of only 100 companies to earn the distinction of top winner and was the only computer hardware vendor to be recognized. Ethisphere honors firms that promote ethical business standards and practices by going beyond legal minimums, introducing innovative ideas that benefit the public.

HP is listed in Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics that ranks electronics manufacturers according to their policies on sustainability, energy and climate and green products. In November 2011, HP secured the 1st place (out of 15) in this ranking (climbing up 3 places) with an increased score of 5.9 (up from 5.5). It scored most points on the new Sustainable Operations criteria, having the best program for measuring and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from its suppliers and scoring maximum points for its thorough paper procurement policy. In the November 2012 report, HP was ranked second, with a score of 5.7.

HP does especially well for its disclosure of externally verified greenhouse gas emissions and its setting of targets for reducing them. However, Greenpeace reports that HP risks a penalty point in future editions due to the fact that it is a member of trade associations that have commented against energy efficiency standards.

HP has earned recognition of its work in the area of data privacy and security. In 2010 the company ranked No. 4 in the Ponemon Institute’s annual study of the most trusted companies for privacy. Since 2006, HP has worked directly with the U.S. Congress, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Department of Commerce to establish a new strategy for federal legislation. HP played a key role in work toward the December 2010 FTC report “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change.”

After winning nine straight annual “Most Respected Company in China” awards from the Economic Observer and Peking University, HP China has added the “10 Year Contribution” award to its list of accolades. The award aims to identify companies doing business in China with outstanding and sustained performance in business operations, development and corporate social responsibility.

In its 2012 rankings of consumer electronics companies on progress relating to conflict minerals, the Enough Project rated HP second out of 24 companies, calling it a “Pioneer of progress”.


1024px-HP_Pavilion_(angle) 1024

 The company sponsored the HP Pavilion at San Jose (now SAP Center at San Jose), home to the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.

According to a BusinessWeek Study, HP was the world’s 11th most valuable brand as of 2009.


HP has many sponsorships. One well known sponsorship is Mission: SPACE in Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort. From 1995 to 1999, and again from 2013, HP has been the shirt sponsor of Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur F.C.[citation needed] From 1997 to 1999 they were sponsors of Australian Football League club North Melbourne Football Club.[citation needed] They also sponsored the BMW Williams Formula 1 team until 2005 (a sponsorship formerly held by Compaq), and as of 2010 sponsor Renault F1. Hewlett-Packard also had the naming rights arrangement for the HP Pavilion at San Jose, home of the San Jose Sharks NHL hockey team until 2013, in which the arena’s naming rights were acquired by SAP AG, renaming the arena to the SAP Center at San Jose. The company also maintains a number of corporate sponsorships in the business sector, including sponsorships of trade organisations including Fespa (print trade exhibitions), and O’Reilly Media’s Velocity (web development) conference.

After the acquisition of Compaq in 2002, HP has maintained the “Compaq Presario” brand on low-end home desktops and laptops, the “HP Compaq” brand on business desktops and laptops, and the “HP ProLiant” brand on Intel-architecture servers. (The “HP Pavilion” brand is used on home entertainment laptops and all home desktops.)

Tandem’s “NonStop” servers are now branded as “HP Integrity NonStop”.

HP Discover Customer Event

In 2011, HP Enterprise Business, along with participating independent user groups, combined its annual HP Software Universe, HP Technology Forum and HP Technology@Work into a single event, HP Discover. There are two HP Discover events annually, one for the Americas and one for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). HP Discover 2011 Americas took place June 6–10, in Las Vegas at the Venetian/Palazzo. The company demonstrated the webOS TouchPad, introduced July 1, 2011.

The HP Discover 2011 event in EMEA took place in Vienna, Austria, on November 29 through December 1, 2011.



In March 2003, HP restated its first-quarter cash flow from operations, reducing it 18 percent because of an accounting error. Actual cash flow from operations was $647 million, not $791 million as reported earlier. HP shifted $144 million to net cash used in investing activities.

Spying Scandal

On September 5, 2006, Shawn Cabalfin and David O’Neil of Newsweek wrote that HP’s general counsel, at the behest of chairwoman Patricia Dunn, contracted a team of independent security experts to investigate board members and several journalists in order to identify the source of an information leak. In turn, those security experts recruited private investigators who used a spying technique known as pretexting. The pretexting involved investigators impersonating HP board members and nine journalists (including reporters for CNET, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal) in order to obtain their phone records. The information leaked related to HP’s long-term strategy and was published as part of a CNET article[146] in January 2006. Most HP employees accused of criminal acts have since been acquitted.


In November 2007, Hewlett-Packard released a BIOS update covering a wide range of laptops with the intent to speed up the computer fan as well as have it run constantly, whether the computer was on or off. The reason was to prevent the overheating of defective Nvidia graphics processing units (GPUs) that had been shipped to many of the original equipment manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Apple. The defect concerned the new packaging material used by Nvidia from 2007 onwards in joining the graphics chip onto the motherboard, which did not perform well under thermal cycling and was prone to develop stress cracks – effectively severing the connection between the GPU and the motherboard, leading to a blank screen. In July 2008, HP issued an extension to the initial one-year warranty to replace the motherboards of selected models. However this option was not extended to all models with the defective Nvidia chipsets despite research showing that these computers were also affected by the fault. Furthermore, the replacement of the motherboard was a temporary fix, since the fault was inherent in all units of the affected models from the point of manufacture, including the replacement motherboards offered by HP as a free ‘repair’. Since this point, several websites have been documenting the issue, most notably http://www.hplies.com, a forum dedicated to what they refer to as Hewlett-Packard’s “multi-million dollar cover up” of the issue, and http://www.nvidiadefect.com, which details the specifics of the fault and offers advice to the owners of affected computers. There have been several small-claims lawsuits filed in several states, as well as suits filed in other countries. Hewlett-Packard also faced a class-action lawsuit in 2009 over its i7 processor computers. The complainants stated that their systems locked up within 30 minutes of powering on, consistently. Even after being replaced with newer i7 systems, the lockups continued.

Lawsuit Against Oracle

On June 15, 2011, HP filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court in Santa Clara, claiming that Oracle Corporation had breached an agreement to support the Itanium microprocessor used in HP’s high-end enterprise servers. On June 15, 2011, HP sent a “formal legal demand” letter to Oracle in an attempt to force the world’s No. 3 software maker to reverse its decision to discontinue software development on Intel Itanium microprocessor and build its own servers. HP won the lawsuit in 2012, requiring Oracle to continue to produce software compatible with the Itanium processor. HP was awarded $3 billion in damages against Oracle on June 30, 2016. HP argued Oracle’s canceling support damaged HP Itanium server brand. Oracle has announced it will appeal both the decision and damages.

Takeover of Autonomy

In November 2012, HP recorded a writedown of around $8.8 billion related to its acquisition a year earlier of the UK based Autonomy Corporation PLC. HP accused Autonomy of deliberately inflating the value of the company prior to its takeover. The former management team of Autonomy flatly rejected the charge.

Autonomy specialized in analysis of large scale unstructured “big data”, and by 2010 was the UK’s largest and most successful software business. It maintained an aggressively entrepreneurial marketing approach, and controls described as a “rod of iron”, which was said to include zero tolerance and firing the weakest 5% of its sales force each quarter, while compensating the best sales staff “like rock stars”.

At the time, HP had fired its previous CEO for expenses irregularities a year before, and appointed Léo Apotheker as CEO and President. HP was seen as problematic by the market, with margins falling and having failed to redirect and establish itself in major new markets such as cloud and mobile services. Apotheker’s strategy was to aim at disposing of hardware and moving into the more profitable software services sector.

As part of this strategy, Autonomy was acquired by HP in October 2011. HP paid $10.3 billion for 87.3% of the shares, valuing Autonomy at around $11.7 billion (£7.4 billion) overall, a premium of around 79% over market price. The deal was widely criticized as “absurdly high”, a “botched strategy shift” and a “chaotic” attempt to rapidly reposition HP and enhance earnings,[61][63][64] and had been objected to even by HP’s own CFO. Within a year, Apotheker himself had been fired, major culture clashes became apparent and HP had written off $8.8 billion of Autonomy’s value.

HP claim this resulted from “accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures” by the previous management, who in turn accuse HP of a “textbook example of defensive stalling” to conceal evidence of its own prior knowledge and gross mismanagement and undermining of the company, noting public awareness since 2009 of its financial reporting issues and that even HP’s CFO disagreed with the price paid. External observers generally state that only a small part of the write-off appears to be due to accounting mis-statements, and that HP had overpaid for businesses previously.

The Serious Fraud Office (United Kingdom), and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission joined the FBI in investigating the potential anomalies. HP incurred much damage with its stock falling to decades’ low. Three lawsuits were brought by shareholders against HP, for the fall in value of HP shares. In August 2014 a United States district court judge threw out a proposed settlement, which Autonomy’s previous management had argued would be collusive and intended to divert scrutiny of HP’s own responsibility and knowledge, by essentially engaging the plaintiff’s attorneys from the existing cases and redirecting them against the previous Autonomy vendors and management, for a fee of up to $48 million, with plaintiffs agreeing to end any claims against HP’s management and similarly redirect those claims against the previous Autonomy vendors and management. In January 2015 the SFO closed its investigation as the likelihood of a successful prosecution was low. The dispute is still being litigated in the US, and is being investigated by the UK and Ireland Financial Reporting Council. On June 9, 2015, HP agreed to pay $100 million to investors who bought HP shares between August 19, 2011, and November 20, 2012 to settle the suite over Autonomy purchase.


On April 9, 2014, an administrative proceeding before Securities and Exchange Commission was settled by HP consenting to an order acknowledging that HP had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when HP subsidiaries in Russia, Poland, and Mexico made improper payments to government officials to obtain or retain lucrative public contracts.

The SEC’s order finds that HP’s subsidiary in Russia paid more than $2 million through agents and various shell companies to a Russian government official to retain a multimillion-dollar contract with the federal prosecutor’s office. In Poland, HP’s subsidiary provided gifts and cash bribes worth more than $600,000 to a Polish government official to obtain contracts with the national police agency. And as part of its bid to win a software sale to Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company, HP’s subsidiary in Mexico paid more than $1 million in inflated commissions to a consultant with close ties to company officials, and money was funneled to one of those officials. HP agreed to pay $108 million to settle the SEC charges and a parallel criminal case.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



  • Developer: Digital Equipment Corporation
  • Product family: Programmable Data Processor
  • Type: Minicomputer
  • Release date: March 22, 1965
  • Introductory price: $18,500, equivalent to about $140,000 in 2016
  • Units sold: 50,000+
  • Successor: PDP-8/S

PDP-8 960x1280

 A PDP-8 on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.. This example is from the first generation of PDP-8s, built with discrete transistors and later known as the Straight 8.

PDP-8e,_inside,_2 768x1024

An open PDP-8/E with its logic modules behind the front panel and one dual TU56 DECtape drive at the top

The 12-bit PDP-8, produced by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), was the first successful commercial minicomputer. DEC introduced it on March 22, 1965 priced at $18,500 (equivalent to about $140,000 in 2016) and eventually sold more than 50,000 systems, the most of any computer up to that time. The PDP-8 was the first computer to be sold for under $20,000 and then DEC sold the PDP-8/S for under $10,000. It was the first widely sold computer in the DEC PDP series of computers (the PDP-5 was not originally intended to be a general-purpose computer). The chief engineer who designed the initial version of the PDP-8 was Edson de Castro, who later founded Data General.

The earliest PDP-8 model (informally known as a “Straight-8”) uses diode–transistor logic, packaged on flip chip cards, and is about the size of a small household refrigerator.

This was followed in 1966 by the PDP-8/S, available in desktop and rack-mount models. Using a one-bit serial arithmetic logic unit (ALU) implementation, allowed the PDP-8/S to be smaller, less expensive, and slower than the original PDP-8. The PDP-8/S was about 20% of the cost and about 10% of the performance of the PDP-8. The only mass storage peripheral available for the PDP-8/S was the DF32 disk.

Later systems (the PDP-8/I and /L, the PDP-8/E, /F, and /M, and the PDP-8/A) returned to a faster, fully parallel implementation but use much less costly transistor-transistor logic (TTL) MSI logic. Most surviving PDP-8s are from this era. The PDP-8/E is common, and well-regarded because so many types of I/O devices were available for it. It was often configured as a general-purpose computer.

In 1975, early personal computers based on inexpensive microprocessors, such as the MITS Altair 8800 and later TRS-80, Apple II and others began to dominate the market for small general purpose computers.

The last commercial PDP-8 models introduced in 1979 were called “CMOS-8s”. They use custom complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) microprocessors. They were not priced competitively, and the offering failed. The IBM PC in 1981 cemented the doom of the CMOS-8s by making a legitimate, well-supported small microprocessor computer.

Intersil sold the integrated circuits commercially through to 1982 as the Intersil 6100 family. By virtue of their CMOS technology they had low power requirements and were used in some embedded military systems.

Architectural Significance

The PDP-8 combined low cost, simplicity, expandability, and careful engineering for value. The greatest historical significance was that the PDP-8’s low cost and high volume made a computer available to many new people for many new uses. Its continuing significance is as a historical example of value-engineered computer design.

The low complexity brought other costs. It made programming cumbersome, as is seen in the examples in this article and from the discussion of “pages” and “fields”. Some ambitious programming projects failed to fit in memory or developed design defects that could not be solved.

As design advances reduced the costs of logic and memory, the programmer’s time became relatively more important. Subsequent computer designs emphasized ease of programming, typically using a larger and more intuitive instruction set.

Eventually, most machine-language programming came to be generated by compilers and report generators. The reduced instruction set computer returned full-circle to the PDP-8’s emphasis on a simple instruction set and achieving multiple actions in a single instruction cycle, in order to maximize execution speed, although the newer computers have much longer instruction words.


The PDP-8 used ideas from several 12-bit predecessors, most notably the LINC designed by W.A. Clark and C.E. Molnar who were inspired by Seymour Cray’s CDC 160 minicomputer.


The PDP-8 used 12 bits for its arithmetic, memory word size, and memory address. The PDP-8’s basic configuration had a main memory of 4,096 twelve-bit words, the maximum that could be addressed with twelve bits. An optional memory-expansion unit could switch banks of memories using the IOT instruction. The memory was magnetic core memory with a cycle time of 1.5 microseconds (0.6 MHz), so that a typical two-cycle (Fetch, Execute) memory-reference instruction ran at a speed of 0.333 MIPS. The 1974 Pocket Reference Card for the PDP-8/E gave a basic instruction time of 1.2 microseconds, or 2.6 microseconds for instructions that referenced memory.

The PDP-8 was designed in part to handle contemporary telecommunications and text. Six-bit character codes were in widespread use at the time, and the PDP-8’s twelve-bit words could efficiently store two such characters. In addition, a six-bit teleprinter code called the teletypesetting or TTS code was in widespread use by the news wire services, and an early application for the PDP-8 was typesetting using this code. Later 7-bit ASCII and 8-bit UTF-8 character codes were developed in part as a response to experience with limited five-bit and six-bit character codes.

Twelve bit arithmetic may seem limited compared to modern computers with 32 or 64-bit words. But, twelve bits could handle unsigned integers from 0 to 4095 and signed numbers from -2048 to +2047. This can control machinery to more than three decimal digits of precision. It also was higher precision than a slide rule or most analog computers. The PDP-8 also had a carry bit, “link,” so that software could do multiple-precision arithmetic. A calculation using two 12-bit words has more that seven decimal digits of precision. Even when using multiple-precision arithmetic, the PDP-8 was thousands of times faster than affordable electromechanical calculators such as a Friden calculator, and substantially less expensive than many contemporary electronic computers, such as the IBM 701.

A basic PDP-8 had only eight instructions. The assembler provided more instruction mnemonics to a programmer by translating I/O and operate-mode instructions to combinations of the op-codes and instruction fields. It also had only three programmer-visible registers: A 12-bit accumulator (AC), a program counter (PC) and a carry bit called the “link register,” (L).

For input and output, the PDP-8 had a single interrupt shared by all devices, an I/O bus accessed by I/O instructions and a direct memory access (DMA) channel. The programmed I/O bus typically ran low to medium-speed peripherals, such as printers, teletypes, paper tape punches and readers, while DMA was used for cathode ray tube screens with a light pen, analog-to-digital converters, digital-to-analog converters, tape drives and disk drives.

To save money, the design used inexpensive main memory for many purposes that are served by more expensive flip-flop registers in other computers, such as auxiliary counters and subroutine linkage.

Basic models used software to do multiplication and division. For faster math, a customer could buy the “extended arithmetic element” (EAE) that provided multiply and divide instructions with an additional register, the “Multiplier/Quotient” (MQ) register. The EAE was an option on both the original PDP-8 as well as the 8/I and 8/E, and it was an integral, standard part of the Intersil 6100 microprocessor.

The PDP-8 was optimized for simplicity of design. Compared to more complex machines, unnecessary features were removed, and logic was shared when possible. Instructions used autoincrement, autoclear and indirect access to increase the software’s speed, reduce memory use and substitute inexpensive memory for expensive registers.

The electronics of a basic PDP-8 CPU has only four 12-bit registers: the accumulator, program counter, memory-buffer register, and memory-address register. To save money, these were designed to serve multiple purposes at different points in the operating cycle. For example, the memory buffer register provides arithmetic operands, is part of the instruction register, and stores data to rewrite the core memory. (This restores the core data destroyed by the read.)

Because of their simplicity, early PDP-8 models were less expensive than most other commercially-available computers. However, they used costly production methods often used for prototypes. They used thousands of very small, standardized logic-modules, with gold connectors, integrated by a costly, complex wire-wrapped backplane in a large cabinet.

In the later 8/S model, two different logic voltages increased the fan-out of the inexpensive diode–transistor logic. The 8/S also reduced the number of logic gates by using a serial, single-bit-wide data path to do arithmetic. The CPU of the PDP-8/S had only about 519 logic gates. In comparison, small microcontrollers (as of 2008) usually have 15,000 or more. The reductions in the electronics permitted a much smaller case, about the size of a bread-box.

The even later PDP-8/E was a larger, more capable computer, but further reengineered for better value. It employed faster transistor-transistor logic in integrated circuits. The core memory was redesigned. It allowed flexible expansion with less expense because it used the OMNIBUS in place of the wire-wrapped backplane on earlier models. (A personal account of the development of the PDP-8/E can be read on the IEEE Global History Network.)

Versions of the PDP-8

The total sales figure for the PDP-8 family has been estimated at over 300,000 machines. The following models were manufactured:

  • PDP-8
  • LINC-8
  • PDP-8/S
  • PDP-8/I
  • PDP-8/L
  • PDP-12
  • PDP-8/E
  • PDP-8/F
  • PDP-8/M
  • PDP-8/A
  • Intersil 6100 single-chip PDP-8-compatible microprocessor (used in the VT78)
  • Harris 6120 CMOS single-chip PDP-8-compatible microprocessor (used in the DECmate word processors)

Latter-day Implementations

The PDP-8 is readily emulated, as its instruction set is much simpler than modern architectures. Enthusiasts have created entire PDP-8s using single FPGA devices.

Several software simulations of a PDP-8 are available on the Internet, as well as open source hardware re-implementations. The best of these correctly execute DEC’s operating systems and diagnostic software. The software simulations often simulate late-model PDP-8s with all possible peripherals. Even these use only a tiny fraction of the capacity of a modern personal computer.


The I/O systems underwent huge changes during the PDP-8 era. Early PDP-8 models used a front panel interface, a paper-tape reader and a teletype printer with an optional paper-tape punch. Over time I/O systems such as magnetic tape, RS-232 and current loop dumb terminals, punched card readers, and fixed-head disks were added. Toward the end of the PDP-8 era, floppy disks and moving-head cartridge disk drives were popular I/O devices. Modern enthusiasts have created standard PC style IDE hard disk adapters for real and simulated PDP-8 computers.

I/O was supported through several different methods:

  • In-backplane dedicated slots for I/O controllers
  • A “Negative” I/O bus (using negative voltage signalling)
  • A “Positive” I/O bus (the same architecture using TTL signalling)
  • The Omnibus (a backplane of undedicated system bus slots) introduced in the
  • PDP-8/E. (Details are described in the referenced IEEE article listed below.)

A simplified, inexpensive form of DMA called “three-cycle data break” was supported; this required the assistance of the processor. The “data break” method moved some of common logic needed to implement DMA I/O from each I/O device into one common copy of the logic within the processor. “Data break” placed the processor in charge of maintaining the DMA address and word count registers. In three successive memory cycles, the processor would update the word count, update the transfer address, and store or retrieve the actual I/O data word.

One cycle data break effectively tripled the DMA transfer rate because only the target data needed to be transferred to and from the core memory. However, the I/O devices needed more electronic logic to manage their own word count and transfer address registers. By the time the PDP-8/E was introduced, electronic logic had become less expensive and “one-cycle data break” became more popular.

Programming Facilities

Early PDP-8 systems did not have an operating system, just a front panel and run and halt switches. Software development systems for the PDP-8 series began with the most basic front panel entry of raw binary machine code (booting entry).

In the middle era, various paper tape “operating systems” were developed. Many utility programs became available on paper tape. PAL-8 assembly language source code was often stored on paper tape, read into memory, and saved to paper tape. PAL assembled from paper tape into memory. Paper tape versions of a number of programming languages were available, including DEC’s FOCAL interpreter and a 4K FORTRAN compiler and runtime.

Toward the end of the PDP-8 era, operating systems such as OS/8 and COS-310 allowed a traditional line mode editor and command-line compiler development system using languages such as PAL-III assembly language, FORTRAN, BASIC, and DIBOL.

Fairly modern and advanced real-time operating system (RTOS) and preemptive multitasking multi-user systems were available: a real-time system (RTS-8) was available as were multiuser commercial systems (COS-300 and COS-310) and a dedicated single-user word-processing system (WPS-8).

A time-sharing system, TSS-8, was also available. TSS-8 allowed multiple users to log into the system via 110-baud terminals, and edit, compile and debug programs. Languages included a special version of BASIC, a FORTRAN subset similar to FORTRAN-1 (no user-written subroutines or functions), an ALGOL subset, FOCAL, and an assembler called PAL-D.

A fair amount of user-donated software for the PDP-8 was available from DECUS, the Digital Equipment Corporation User Society, and often came with full source listings and documentation.

Instruction Set

The three high-order bits of the 12-bit instruction word (labelled bits 0 through 2) are the operation code. For the six operations that refer to memory, bits 5 through 11 provide a 7-bit address. Bit 4, if set, says to complete the address using the 5 high-order bits of the PC; if clear, zeroes are used. Bit 3 specifies indirection; if set, the address obtained as described so far points to a 12-bit value in memory that gives the actual effective address for the instruction. (The JMP instruction does not operate on a memory word, except if indirection is specified, but has the same bit fields.)


This use of the instruction word divides the 4,096-word memory into 128-word pages; bit 4 of the instruction selects either the current page or page 0 (addresses 0000–0177 in octal). Memory in page 0 is at a premium, since variables placed here can be addressed directly from any page. (Moreover, address 0000 is where any interrupt service routine must start, and addresses 0010–0017 have the special property of auto-incrementing preceding any indirect reference through them.)

The standard assembler places constant values for arithmetic in the current page. Likewise, cross-page jumps and subroutine calls use an indirect address in the current page.

It was important to write routines to fit within 128-word pages, or to arrange routines to minimize page transitions, as references and jumps outside the current page required an extra word. Consequently, much time was spent cleverly conserving one or several words. Programmers deliberately placed code at the end of a page to achieve a free transition to the next page as PC was incremented.

Basic instructions

  • 000 – AND – AND the memory operand with AC.
  • 001 – TAD – Two’s complement ADd the memory operand to <L,AC> (a 12 bit signed value (AC) w. carry in L).
  • 010 – ISZ – Increment the memory operand and Skip next instruction if result is Zero.
  • 011 – DCA – Deposit AC into the memory operand and Clear AC.
  • 100 – JMS – JuMp to Subroutine (storing return address in first word of subroutine!).
  • 101 – JMP – JuMP.
  • 110 – IOT – Input/Output Transfer (see below).
  • 111 – OPR – microcoded OPeRations (see below).

IOT (Input-Output Transfer) Instructions

The PDP-8 processor defined few of the IOT instructions, but simply provided a framework. Most IOT instructions were defined by the individual I/O devices.


Bits 3 through 8 of an IOT instruction selected an I/O device. Some of these device addresses were standardized by convention:

  • 00 was handled by the processor and not sent to any I/O device (see below).
  • 01 was usually the high-speed paper tape reader.
  • 02 was the high-speed paper tape punch.
  • 03 was the console keyboard (and any associated low-speed paper tape reader).
  • 04 was the console printer (and any associated low-speed paper tape punch).

Instructions for device 0 affected the processor as a whole. For example, ION (6001) enabled interrupt processing, and IOFF (6002) disabled it.


Bits 9 through 11 of an IOT instruction selected the function(s) the device would perform. Simple devices (such as the paper tape reader and punch and the console keyboard and printer) would use the bits in standard ways:

  • Bit 11 caused the processor to skip the next instruction if the I/O device was ready.
  • Bit 10 cleared AC.
  • Bit 9 moved a word between AC and the device, initiated another I/O transfer, and cleared the device’s “ready” flag.

These operations took place in a well-defined order that gave useful results if more than one bit was set.

More complicated devices, such as disk drives, used these 3 bits in device-specific fashions. Typically, a device decoded the 3 bits to give 8 possible function codes.

OPR (OPeRate)

Many operations were achieved using OPR, including most of the conditionals. OPR does not address a memory location; conditional execution is achieved by conditionally skipping one instruction, which was typically a JMP.

The OPR instruction was said to be “microcoded.” This did not mean what the word means today (that a lower-level program fetched and interpreted the OPR instruction), but meant that each bit of the instruction word specified a certain action, and the programmer could achieve several actions in a single instruction cycle by setting multiple bits. In use, a programmer would write several instruction mnemonics alongside one another, and the assembler would combine them with OR to devise the actual instruction word. Many I/O devices supported “microcoded” IOT instructions.

Microcoded actions took place in a well-defined sequence designed to maximize the utility of many combinations.

The OPR instructions came in Groups. Bits 3, 8 and 11 identify the Group of an OPR instruction, so it was impossible to combine the microcoded actions from different groups.

Group 1


  • 7200 – CLA – Clear Accumulator
  • 7100 – CLL – Clear the L Bit
  • 7040 – CMA – Ones Complement Accumulator
  • 7020 – CML – Complement L Bit
  • 7001 – IAC – Increment <L,AC>
  • 7010 – RAR – Rotate <L,AC> Right
  • 7004 – RAL – Rotate <L,AC> Left
  • 7012 – RTR – Rotate <L,AC> Right Twice
  • 7006 – RTL – Rotate <L,AC> Left Twice
  • 7002 – BSW – Byte Swap 6-bit “bytes” (PDP 8/e and up)

In most cases, the operations are sequenced so that they can be combined in the most useful ways. For example, combining CLA (CLear Accumulator), CLL (CLear Link), and IAC (Increment ACcumulator) first clears the AC and Link, then increments the accumulator, leaving it set to 1. Adding RAL to the mix (so CLA CLL IAC RAL) causes the accumulator to be cleared, incremented, then rotated left, leaving it set to 2. In this way, small integer constants were placed in the accumulator with a single instruction.

The combination CMA IAC, which the assembler let you abbreviate as CIA, produced the arithmetic inverse of AC: the twos-complement negation. Since there was no subtraction instruction, only the twos-complement add (TAD), computing the difference of two operands required first negating the subtrahend.

A Group 1 OPR instruction that has none of the microprogrammed bits set performs no action. The programmer can write NOP (No Operation) to assemble such an instruction.

Group 2, Or Group

Group 2 OR Group

  • 7600 – CLA – Clear AC
  • 7500 – SMA – Skip on AC < 0 (or group)
  • 7440 – SZA – Skip on AC = 0 (or group)
  • 7420 – SNL – Skip on L ≠ 0 (or group)
  • 7404 – OSR – logically ‘or’ front-panel switches with AC
  • 7402 – HLT – Halt

When bit 8 is clear, a skip is performed if any of the specified conditions are true. For example, “SMA SZA”, opcode 7540, skips if AC ≤ 0.

A Group 2 OPR instruction that has none of the microprogrammed bits set is another No-Op instruction.

Group 2, And Group

Group 2 AND Group

  • 7410 – SKP – Skip Unconditionally
  • 7610 – CLA – Clear AC
  • 7510 – SPA – Skip on AC ≥ 0 (and group)
  • 7450 – SNA – Skip on AC ≠ 0 (and group)
  • 7430 – SZL – Skip on L = 0 (and group)

When bit 8 is set, the Group 2, Or skip condition is inverted: the skip is not performed if any of the group 2, Or conditions are true, meaning that all of the specified skip conditions must be true. For example, “SPA SNA”, opcode 7550, skips if AC > 0. If none of bits 5–7 are set, then the skip is unconditional.

Group 3

Unused bit combinations of OPR were defined as a third Group of microprogrammed actions mostly affecting the MQ (Multiplier/Quotient) register.


  • 7601 – CLA – Clear AC
  • 7501 – MQA – Multiplier Quotient with AC (logical or MQ into AC)
  • 7441 – SCA – Step counter load into AC
  • 7421 – MQL – Multiplier Quotient Load (Transfer AC to MQ, clear AC)
  • 7621 – CAM – CLA + MQL clears both AC and MQ.

Typically CLA and MQA were combined to transfer MQ into AC. Another useful combination is MQA and MQL, to exchange the two registers.

Three bits specified a multiply/divide instruction to perform:

  • 7401 – No operation
  • 7403 – SCL – Step Counter Load (immediate word follows, PDP-8/I and up)
  • 7405 – MUY – Multiply
  • 7407 – DVI – Divide
  • 7411 – NMI – Normalize
  • 7413 – SHL – Shift left (immediate word follows)
  • 7415 – ASR – Arithmetic shift right
  • 7417 – LSR – Logical shift right

Memory Control


 PDP-8/I core stack

A 12-bit word can have 4,096 different values, and this was the maximum number of words the original PDP-8 could address indirectly through a word pointer. As programs became more complex and the price of memory fell, it became desirable to expand this limit.

To maintain compatibility with pre-existing programs, new hardware outside the original design added high-order bits to the effective addresses generated by the program. The Memory Extension Controller expanded the addressable memory by a factor of 8, to a total of 32,768 words. This expansion was thought sufficient because, with core memory then costing about 50 cents a word, a full 32K of memory would equal the cost of the CPU.

Each 4K of memory was called a field. The Memory Extension Controller contained two three-bit registers: the DF (Data Field) and the IF (Instruction Field). These registers specified a field for each memory reference of the CPU, allowing a total of 15 bits of address. The IF register specified the field for instruction fetches and direct memory references; the DF register specified the field for indirect data accesses. A program running in one field could reference data in the same field by direct addressing, and reference data in another field by indirect addressing.

A set of I/O instructions in the range 6200 through 6277 was handled by the Memory Extension Controller and gave access to the DF and IF registers. The 62X1 instruction (CDF, Change Data Field) set the data field to X. Similarly 62X2 (CIF) set the instruction field, and 62X3 set both. Pre-existing programs would never execute CIF or CDF; the DF and IF registers would both point to the same field, a single field to which these programs were limited. The effect of the CIF instruction was deferred to coincide with the next JMP or JMS instruction, so that executing CIF would not cause a jump.

It was more complicated for multiple-field programs to deal with field boundaries and the DF and IF registers than it would have been if they could simply generate 15-bit addresses, but the design provided backward compatibility and was consistent with the 12-bit architecture used throughout the PDP-8. Compare the later Intel 8086, whose 16-bit memory addresses are expanded to 20 bits by combining them with the contents of a specified or implied segment register.

The extended memory scheme let existing programs handle increased memory with minimal changes. For example, 4K FOCAL normally had about 3K of code with only 1K left over for user program and data. With a few patches, FOCAL could use a second 4K field for user program and data. Moreover, additional 4K fields could be allocated to separate users, turning 4K FOCAL into a multi-user timesharing system.


On the PDP-8/E and later models, the Memory Extension Controller was enhanced to enable machine virtualization. A program written to use a PDP-8’s entire resources could coexist with other such programs on the same PDP-8 under the control of a virtual machine manager. The manager could make all I/O instructions (including those that operated on the Memory Extension Controller) cause a trap (an interrupt handled by the manager). In this way, the manager could map memory references, map data or instruction fields, and redirect I/O to different devices. Each original program had complete access to a “virtual machine” provided by the manager.

New I/O instructions to the Memory Extension Controller retrieved the current value of the data and instruction fields, letting software save and restore most of the machine state across a trap. However, a program could not sense whether the CPU was in the process of deferring the effect of a CIF instruction (whether it had executed a CIF and not yet executed the matching jump instruction). The manager had to include a complete PDP-8 emulator (not difficult for an 8-instruction machine). Whenever a CIF instruction trapped to the manager, it had to emulate the instructions up to the next jump. Fortunately, as a jump usually was the next instruction after CIF, this emulation did not slow programs down much, but it is a large workaround to a seemingly small design deficiency.

By the time of the PDP-8/A, memory prices had fallen enough that memory exceeding 32K was desirable. The 8/A added a new set of instructions for handling more than eight fields of memory. The field number could now be placed in the AC, rather than hard-coded into the instruction. However, by this time, the PDP-8 was in decline, so very little standard software was modified to use these new features.


The following examples show code in PDP-8 assembly language as one might write for the PAL-III assembler.

Comparing Two Numbers

The following piece of code shows what is needed just to compare two numbers:

Comparing two numbers

As shown, much of the text of a typical PDP-8 program focuses not on the author’s intended algorithm but on low-level mechanics. An additional readability problem is that in conditional jumps such as the one shown above, the conditional instruction (which skips around the JMP) highlights the opposite of the condition of interest.

String Output

This complete PDP-8 assembly language program outputs “Hello, world!” to the teleprinter.

String output


The PDP-8 processor did not implement a stack upon which to store registers or other context when a subroutine was called or an interrupt occurred. (A stack could be implemented in software, as demonstrated in the next section.) Instead, the JMS instruction simply stored the updated PC (pointing past JMS, to the return address) at the effective address and jumped to the effective address plus one. The subroutine returned to its caller using an indirect JMP instruction that addressed the subroutine’s first word.

For example, here is “Hello, World!” re-written to use a subroutine. When the JMS instruction jumps to the subroutine, it modifies the 0 coded at location OUT1:


The fact that the JMS instruction used the word just before the code of the subroutine to deposit the return address prevented reentrancy and recursion without additional work by the programmer. It also made it difficult to use ROM with the PDP-8 because read-write return-address storage was commingled with read-only code storage in the address space. Programs intended to be placed into ROMs approached this problem in several ways:

They copied themselves to read-write memory before execution, or

They were placed into special ROM cards that provided a few words of read/write memory, accessed indirectly through the use of a thirteenth flag bit in each ROM word.

They avoided the use of subroutines; or used code such as the following, instead of the JMS instruction, to put the return address in read-write memory:

Subroutines 2.jpg

The use of the JMS instruction made debugging difficult. If a programmer made the mistake of having a subroutine call itself, directly or by an intermediate subroutine, then the return address for the outer call would be destroyed by the return address of the subsequent call, leading to an infinite loop. If one module was coded with an incorrect or obsolete address for a subroutine, it would not just fail to execute the entire code sequence of the subroutine, it might modify a word of the subroutine’s code, depositing a return address that the processor might interpret as an instruction during a subsequent correct call to the subroutine. Both types of error might become evident during the execution of code that was written correctly.

Software Stack

Though the PDP-8 did not have a hardware stack, it could be implemented in software. Here are example PUSH and POP subroutines, simplified to omit issues such as testing for stack overflow and underflow:

Software stack

And here is “Hello World” with this “stack” implemented, and “OUT” subroutine:

Software stack 2

Linked list
Another possible subroutine for the PDP-8 was a linked list.

Linked list


There was a single interrupt line on the PDP-8 I/O bus. The processor handled any interrupt by disabling further interrupts and executing a JMS to location 0000. As it was difficult to write reentrant subroutines, it was difficult to nest interrupts and this was usually not done; each interrupt ran to completion and re-enabled interrupts just before executing the JMP I 0 instruction that returned from the interrupt.

Because there was only a single interrupt line on the I/O bus, the occurrence of an interrupt did not inform the processor of the source of the interrupt. Instead, the interrupt service routine had to serially poll each active I/O device to see if it was the source. The code that did this was called a skip chain because it consisted of a series of PDP-8 “test and skip if flag set” I/O instructions. (It was not unheard-of for a skip chain to reach its end without finding any device in need of service.) The relative interrupt priority of the I/O devices was determined by their position in the skip chain: If several devices interrupted, the device tested earlier in the skip chain would be serviced first.


An engineering textbook popular in the 1980s, The Art of Digital Design by David Winkel and Franklin Prosser, contains an example problem spanning several chapters in which the authors demonstrate the process of designing a computer that is compatible with the PDP-8/I. The function of every component is explained. Although it is not a production design, the exercise provides a detailed description of the computer’s operation.








ENIAC [Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer]


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Four ENIAC panels and one of its three function tables, on display at the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania


Location within Philadelphia

Location: University of Pennsylvania Department of Computer and Information Science, 3330 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Coordinates: 39.9522012°N 75.1909932°W
PA marker dedicated: Thursday, June 15, 2000

ENIAC (/ˈini.æk/ or /ˈɛni.æk/; Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was amongst the earliest electronic general-purpose computers made. It was Turing-complete, digital and able to solve “a large class of numerical problems” through reprogramming.

Although ENIAC was designed and primarily used to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory, its first programs included a study of the feasibility of the thermonuclear weapon.

ENIAC was formally dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania on February 15, 1946 and was heralded as a “Giant Brain” by the press. It had a speed on the order of one thousand times faster than that of electro-mechanical machines; this computational power, coupled with general-purpose programmability, excited scientists and industrialists alike. This combination of speed and programmability allowed for thousands more calculations for problems, as ENIAC calculated a trajectory that took a human 20 hours in 30 seconds (a 2400× increase in speed).

Development and Design

ENIAC’s design and construction was financed by the United States Army, Ordnance Corps, Research and Development Command, led by Major General Gladeon M. Barnes. The total cost was about $487,000, equivalent to $6,740,000 in 2016. The construction contract was signed on June 5, 1943; work on the computer began in secret at the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering the following month, under the code name “Project PX”, with John Grist Brainerd as principal investigator. Herman Goldstine persuaded the Army to fund the project which put him in charge to oversee it for them.

Eniac 1005X768

Glen Beck (background) and Betty Snyder (foreground) program ENIAC in BRL building 328. (U.S. Army photo)

ENIAC was designed by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert of the University of Pennsylvania, U.S. The team of design engineers assisting the development included Robert F. Shaw (function tables), Jeffrey Chuan Chu (divider/square-rooter), Thomas Kite Sharpless (master programmer), Frank Mural (master programmer), Arthur Burks (multiplier), Harry Huskey (reader/printer) and Jack Davis (accumulators). In 1946, the researchers resigned from the University of Pennsylvania and formed the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation.

ENIAC was a modular computer, composed of individual panels to perform different functions. Twenty of these modules were accumulators which could not only add and subtract, but hold a ten-digit decimal number in memory. Numbers were passed between these units across several general-purpose buses (or trays, as they were called). In order to achieve its high speed, the panels had to send and receive numbers, compute, save the answer and trigger the next operation, all without any moving parts. Key to its versatility was the ability to branch; it could trigger different operations, depending on the sign of a computed result.


By the end of its operation in 1956, ENIAC contained 17,468 vacuum tubes, 7200 crystal diodes, 1500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and approximately 5,000,000 hand-soldered joints. It weighed more than 30 short tons (27 t), was roughly 2.4 m × 0.9 m × 30 m (8 × 3 × 100 feet) in size, occupied 167 m2 (1,800 ft2) and consumed 150 kW of electricity. This power requirement led to the rumor that whenever the computer was switched on, lights in Philadelphia dimmed. Input was possible from an IBM card reader and an IBM card punch was used for output. These cards could be used to produce printed output offline using an IBM accounting machine, such as the IBM 405. While ENIAC had no system to store memory in its inception, these punch cards could be used for external memory storage. In 1953, a 100-word magnetic-core memory built by the Burroughs Corporation was added to ENIAC.

ENIAC used ten-position ring counters to store digits; each digit required 36 vacuum tubes, 10 of which were the dual triodes making up the flip-flops of the ring counter. Arithmetic was performed by “counting” pulses with the ring counters and generating carry pulses if the counter “wrapped around,” the idea being to electronically emulate the operation of the digit wheels of a mechanical adding machine.

ENIAC had 20 ten-digit signed accumulators, which used ten’s complement representation and could perform 5000 simple addition or subtraction operations between any of them and a source (e.g., another accumulator or a constant transmitter) every second. It was possible to connect several accumulators to run simultaneously, so the peak speed of operation was potentially much higher, due to parallel operation.

It was possible to wire the carry of one accumulator into another accumulator to perform double precision arithmetic, but the accumulator carry circuit timing prevented the wiring of 3+ for even higher precision. ENIAC used 4 of the accumulators (controlled by a special multiplier unit) to perform up to 385 multiplication operations/second; 5 of the accumulators were controlled by a special divider/square-rooter unit to perform up to 40 division operations/second or 3 square root operations/second.

The other 9 units in ENIAC were the Initiating Unit (started and stopped the machine), the Cycling Unit (used for synchronizing the other units), the Master Programmer (controlled “loop” sequencing), the Reader (controlled an IBM punch-card reader), the Printer (controlled an IBM card punch), the Constant Transmitter and 3 function tables.

Operation Times

The references by Rojas and Hashagen (or Wilkes) give more details about the times for operations, which differ somewhat from those stated above.


 Cpl. Irwin Goldstein (foreground) sets the switches on one of ENIAC’s function tables at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering. (U.S. Army photo) [20]

The basic machine cycle was 200 microseconds (20 cycles of the 100 kHz clock in the cycling unit), or 5,000 cycles per second for operations on the 10-digit numbers. In one of these cycles, ENIAC could write a number to a register, read a number from a register, or add/subtract two numbers.

A multiplication of a 10-digit number by a d-digit number (for d up to 10) took d+4 cycles, so a 10- by 10-digit multiplication took 14 cycles, or 2800 microseconds—a rate of 357 per second. If one of the numbers had fewer than 10 digits, the operation was faster.

Division and square roots took 13(d+1) cycles, where d is the number of digits in the result (quotient or square root). So a division or square root took up to 143 cycles, or 28,600 microseconds—a rate of 35 per second. (Wilkes 1956:20 states that a division with a 10 digit quotient required 6 milliseconds.) If the result had fewer than ten digits, it was obtained faster.


ENIAC used common octal-base radio tubes of the day; the decimal accumulators were made of 6SN7 flip-flops, while 6L7s, 6SJ7s, 6SA7s and 6AC7s were used in logic functions. Numerous 6L6s and 6V6s served as line drivers to drive pulses through cables between rack assemblies.

Several tubes burned out almost every day, leaving ENIAC nonfunctional about half the time. Special high-reliability tubes were not available until 1948. Most of these failures, however, occurred during the warm-up and cool-down periods, when the tube heaters and cathodes were under the most thermal stress. Engineers reduced ENIAC’s tube failures to the more acceptable rate of one tube every two days. According to a 1989 interview with Eckert, “We had a tube fail about every two days and we could locate the problem within 15 minutes.” In 1954, the longest continuous period of operation without a failure was 116 hours—close to five days.


ENIAC could be programmed to perform complex sequences of operations, including loops, branches, and subroutines. However, instead of the stored program computers that exist today, ENIAC was just a large collection of arithmetic machines, which had programs hard coded into the machines with function tables that each contained 1200 ten way switches. The task of taking a problem and mapping it onto the machine was complex, and usually took weeks. Due to the complexity of mapping programs onto the machine, programs were only changed after huge numbers of tests of the current program. After the program was figured out on paper, the process of getting the program into ENIAC by manipulating its switches and cables could take days. This was followed by a period of verification and debugging, aided by the ability to execute the program step by step. A programming tutorial for the modulo function using an ENIAC simulator gives an impression of what a program on the ENIAC looked like.

ENIAC’s six primary programmers, Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas and Ruth Lichterman, not only determined how to input ENIAC programs, but also developed an understanding of ENIAC’s inner workings. The programmers debugged problems by crawling inside the massive structure to find bad joints and bad tubes.


Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Meltzer, Fran Bilas, and Ruth Lichterman were the first programmers of the ENIAC, though their work was not widely recognized for over 50 years. At the time, the hardware was seen as the primary innovation and the complexity of programming the machine was undervalued, perhaps because the first programmers were all women. Historians had at first mistaken them for “Refrigerator Ladies”, i.e. models posing in front of the machine. Most of the women did not receive recognition for their work on the ENIAC in their lifetimes. 50 years after the invention of the ENIAC most of the female programmers were not invited to the 50th anniversary event.


 Programmers Betty Jean Jennings (left) and Fran Bilas (right) operate ENIAC’s main control panel at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering. (U.S. Army photo from the archives of the ARL Technical Library)

These early programmers were drawn from a group of about two hundred female computers who studied at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. One of the few technical job categories available to women was computing the results of mathematical formulas for science and engineering, usually with a mechanical calculator. Betty Holberton (née Snyder) continued on to invent the first sorting algorithm and help design the first commercial electronic computers, the UNIVAC and the BINAC, alongside Jean Jennings.

Herman Goldstine selected the programmers, then called “operators”, from the computers who had been calculating ballistics tables with desk calculators and a differential analyzer prior to and during the development of ENIAC. Under Herman and Adele Goldstine’s direction, the programmers studied ENIAC’s blueprints and physical structure to determine how to manipulate its switches and cables, rather than learning a programming language. Though contemporaries considered programming a clerical task and did not publicly recognize the programmers’ impact on the successful operation and announcement of ENIAC, McNulty, Jennings, Snyder, Wescoff, Bilas, and Lichterman have since been recognized for their contributions to computing.

Following the initial six programmers, an expanded team of a hundred scientists was recruited to continue work on the ENIAC. Among these were several women, including Gloria Ruth Gordon. Adele Goldstine wrote the original technical description of the ENIAC.

Role in the Hydrogen Bomb

Although the Ballistic Research Laboratory was the sponsor of ENIAC, one year into this three-year project John von Neumann, a mathematician working on the hydrogen bomb at Los Alamos National Laboratory, became aware of this computer. Los Alamos subsequently became so involved with ENIAC that the first test problem run consisted of computations for the hydrogen bomb, not artillery tables. The input/output for this test was one million cards.

Role in Development of the Monte Carlo Methods

Related to ENIAC’s role in the hydrogen bomb was its role in the Monte Carlo method becoming popular. Scientists involved in the original nuclear bomb development used massive groups of people doing huge numbers of calculations (“computers” in the terminology of the time) to investigate the distance that neutrons would likely travel through various materials. John von Neumann and Stanislaw Ulam realized the speed of ENIAC would allow these calculations to be done much more quickly. The success of this project showed the value of Monte Carlo methods in science.

Later Developments

The completed machine was announced to the public the evening of February 14, 1946 and formally dedicated the next day at the University of Pennsylvania. The original contract amount was $61,700; the final cost was almost $500,000 (approximately $6,100,000 today). It was formally accepted by the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps in July 1946. ENIAC was shut down on November 9, 1946 for a refurbishment and a memory upgrade, and was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland in 1947. There, on July 29, 1947, it was turned on and was in continuous operation until 11:45 p.m. on October 2, 1955.

Role in the Development of the EDVAC

A few months after ENIAC’s unveiling in the summer of 1946, as part of “an extraordinary effort to jump-start research in the field”, the Pentagon invited “the top people in electronics and mathematics from the United States and Great Britain” to a series of forty-eight lectures given in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; all together called The Theory and Techniques for Design of Digital Computers—more often named the Moore School Lectures. Half of these lectures were given by the inventors of ENIAC.

ENIAC was a one-of-a-kind design and was never repeated. The freeze on design in 1943 meant that the computer design would lack some innovations that soon became well-developed, notably the ability to store a program. Eckert and Mauchly started work on a new design, to be later called the EDVAC, which would be both simpler and more powerful. In particular, in 1944 Eckert wrote his description of a memory unit (the mercury delay line) which would hold both the data and the program. John von Neumann, who was consulting for the Moore School on the EDVAC, sat in on the Moore School meetings at which the stored program concept was elaborated. Von Neumann wrote up an incomplete set of notes (First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC) which were intended to be used as an internal memorandum—describing, elaborating, and couching in formal logical language the ideas developed in the meetings. ENIAC administrator and security officer Herman Goldstine distributed copies of this First Draft to a number of government and educational institutions, spurring widespread interest in the construction of a new generation of electronic computing machines, including Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC) at Cambridge University, England and SEAC at the U.S. Bureau of Standards.


A number of improvements were made to ENIAC after 1948, including a primitive read-only stored programming mechanism using the Function Tables as program ROM, an idea included in the ENIAC patent and proposed independently by Dr. Richard Clippinger of BRL. Clippinger consulted with von Neumann on what instruction set to implement. Clippinger had thought of a 3-address architecture while von Neumann proposed a 1-address architecture because it was simpler to implement. Three digits of one accumulator (6) were used as the program counter, another accumulator  was used as the main accumulator, a third accumulator  was used as the address pointer for reading data from the function tables, and most of the other accumulators were used for data memory.

The programming of the stored program for ENIAC was done by Betty Jennings, Clippinger and Adele Goldstine. It was first demonstrated as a stored-program computer on September 16, 1948, running a program by Adele Goldstine for John von Neumann. This modification reduced the speed of ENIAC by a factor of six and eliminated the ability of parallel computation, but as it also reduced the reprogramming time to hours instead of days, it was considered well worth the loss of performance. Also analysis had shown that due to differences between the electronic speed of computation and the electromechanical speed of input/output, almost any real-world problem was completely I/O bound, even without making use of the original machine’s parallelism. Most computations would still be I/O bound, even after the speed reduction imposed by this modification.

Early in 1952, a high-speed shifter was added, which improved the speed for shifting by a factor of five. In July 1953, a 100-word expansion core memory was added to the system, using binary coded decimal, excess-3 number representation. To support this expansion memory, ENIAC was equipped with a new Function Table selector, a memory address selector, pulse-shaping circuits, and three new orders were added to the programming mechanism.

Comparison with other Early Computers

Mechanical and electrical computing machines have been around since the 19th century, but the 1930s and 1940s are considered the beginning of the modern computer era.

682px-ENIAC_function_table_at_Aberdeen A function table from ENIAC on display at Aberdeen Proving Ground museum.

ENIAC was, like the Z3 and Harvard Mark I, able to run an arbitrary sequence of mathematical operations, but did not read them from a tape. Like the Colossus, it was programmed by plugboard and switches. ENIAC combined full, Turing complete programmability with electronic speed. The Atanasoff–Berry Computer (ABC), ENIAC, and Colossus all used thermionic valves (vacuum tubes). ENIAC’s registers performed decimal arithmetic, rather than binary arithmetic like the Z3, the ABC and Colossus.

Like the Colossus, ENIAC required rewiring to reprogram until September 1948. Three months earlier, in June 1948, the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM) ran its first program and earned the distinction of first stored-program computer. Though the idea of a stored-program computer with combined memory for program and data was conceived during the development of ENIAC, it was not initially implemented in ENIAC because World War II priorities required the machine to be completed quickly, and ENIAC’s 20 storage locations would be too small to hold data and programs.

Public Knowledge

The Z3 and Colossus were developed independently of each other, and of the ABC and ENIAC during World War II. The Z3 was destroyed by the Allied bombing raids of Berlin in 1943. The ten Colossus machines were part of the UK’s war effort. Their existence only became generally known in the 1970s, though knowledge of their capabilities remained among their UK staff and invited Americans. All but two of the machines were dismantled in 1945; the remaining two were used in GCHQ until the 1960s. Work on the ABC at Iowa State University was stopped in 1942 after John Atanasoff was called to Washington, D.C., to do physics research for the U.S. Navy, and it was subsequently dismantled.

ENIAC, by contrast, was put through its paces for the press in 1946, “and captured the world’s imagination”. Older histories of computing may therefore not be comprehensive in their coverage and analysis of this period. As the Colossus was used to decrypt Russian messages up until the 1960s, it was kept confidential for almost 40 years, only becoming public knowledge in the late 1970s.


For a variety of reasons (including Mauchly’s June 1941 examination of the Atanasoff–Berry Computer, prototyped in 1939 by John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry), U.S. Patent 3,120,606 for ENIAC, applied for in 1947 and granted in 1964, was voided by the 1973 decision of the landmark federal court case Honeywell v. Sperry Rand, putting the invention of the electronic digital computer in the public domain and providing legal recognition to Atanasoff as the inventor of the first electronic digital computer.

Parts on Display


 Detail of the back of a section of ENIAC, showing vacuum tubes

Pieces of ENIAC are held by the following institutions:

  • The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania has four of the original forty panels and one of the three function tables of ENIAC (on loan from the Smithsonian).
  • The Smithsonian has five panels in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
  • The Science Museum in London has a receiver unit on display.
    The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California has three panels and a function table on display (on loan from the Smithsonian Institution).
  • The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has four panels, salvaged by Arthur Burks.
  • The United States Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground,
  • Maryland, where ENIAC was used, has one of the function tables.
  • The U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum in Fort Sill, as of October 2014, had obtained seven panels of ENIAC that were previously housed by The Perot Group in Plano, Texas.
  • The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, has one of the data entry terminals from the ENIAC.
  • The Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum in Paderborn, Germany, has three panels (on loan from the Smithsonian Institution)


ENIAC was named an IEEE Milestone in 1987.

In 1996, in honor of the ENIAC’s 50th anniversary, The University of Pennsylvania sponsored a project named, “ENIAC-on-a-Chip”, where a very small silicon computer chip measuring 7.44 mm by 5.29 mm was built with the same functionality as ENIAC. Although this 20 MHz chip was many times faster than ENIAC, it had but a fraction of the speed of its contemporary microprocessors in the late 1990s.

In 1997, the six women who did most of the programming of ENIAC were inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. The role of the ENIAC programmers is treated in a 2010 documentary film titled Top Secret Rosies: The Female “Computers” of WWII by LeAnn Erickson. A 2014 documentary short, The Computers by Kate McMahon, tells of the story of the six programmers; this was the result of 20 years’ research by Kathryn Kleiman and her team as part of the ENIAC Programmers Project.

In 2011, to honor of the 65th anniversary of the ENIAC’s unveiling, the city of Philadelphia declared February 15 as ENIAC Day.

The ENIAC celebrated its 70th anniversary on February 15, 2016.

John Ellenby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Ellenby | Pembuat Laptop Computer Pertama di Dunia

John Ellenby Biodata



John Ellenby (9 January 1941 – 17 August 2016) was a British businessman. He was the founder of Grid Systems Corporation, maker of the Grid Compass, one of the first commercially successful Laptop Computers. He also co-founded GeoVector, an early augmented reality company.



Ellenby was born in Corbridge, in Northumberland.[1] He studied geography and economics at University College London, and first encountered mainframe computers for the first time in the early 1960s, when he spent a year at the London School of Economics.

He worked for the British firm Ferranti, where he worked on minicomputers. Ellenby moved to California in the 1970s, where he worked for Xerox, and became involved in the management of the development of the Alto and Alto II desktop computers. In 1978, Ellenby and Tim Mott proposed an idea to commercialise the Alto computer, but this idea was later abandoned due to financial constraints.

Ellenby said that they “had to sandbag the Alto because with it we couldn’t make their numbers and therefore wouldn’t get any bonuses”.

In 1979, he cofounded Grid Systems Corporation with colleagues from Xerox PARC; the business started with $13 million of funding from Wall Street venture capitalists.

In 1982, Grid built the Grid Compass, which was one of the first laptop computers to feature the now-popular clamshell design, and was used on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. In 1988, Grid was sold to the Tandy Corporation.

The design for The Compass computer was allegedly based on the shape of Ellenby’s briefcase. In 1987, Ellenby founded Agilis; he acted as the President of the company until 1990, and in 1989 the company produced hand-held computers with built-in Ethernet ports. Ellenby also founded Geovector, a company based on applications of augmented reality. Ellenby died on 17 August 2016 in San Francisco.

Bill Gates

Dari Wikipedia bahasa Indonesia, ensiklopedia bebas


Bill Gates

Lahir:  William Henry Gates III, 28 Oktober 1955 (umur 61), Seattle, Washington, Amerika Serikat

Tempat tinggal: Medina, Washington, Amerika Serikat
Kebangsaan: Amerika Serikat
Almamater: Universitas Harvard (keluar)


  • Ketua Microsoft
  • Ketua Corbis
  • Ketua Pendamping Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Direktur Berkshire Hathaway
  • CEO Cascade Investment

Tahun aktif: 1975–sekarang
Kekayaan bersih: ▲ US$79 miliar (2015), US$90 miliar (2017),  US$ 103,4 (2019)
Agama: Katolik Roma, sebelumnya Kongregasionalisme
Pasangan: Melinda Gates (m. 1994)
Anak: 3

Orang tua:

  • William H. Gates, Sr.
  • Mary Maxwell Gates

Situs web: Bill Gates
Tanda tangan:


William Henry “Bill” Gates III (lahir di Seattle, Washington, 28 Oktober 1955; umur 61 tahun) adalah seorang tokoh bisnis, investor, filantropis, penulis asal Amerika Serikat, serta mantan CEO yang saat ini menjabat sebagai ketua Microsoft, perusahaan perangkat lunak yang ia dirikan bersama Paul Allen. Ia menduduki peringkat tetap di antara orang-orang terkaya di dunia dan menempati peringkat pertama sejak 1995 hingga 2009, tidak termasuk 2008 ketika ia turun ke peringkat tiga.

Gates termasuk salah seorang pengusaha revolusi komputer pribadi terkenal di dunia. Meski demikian, taktik bisnisnya dikritik karena dianggap anti-kompetitif. Pada tahap-tahap akhir kariernya, Gates melakukan beberapa usaha filantropi dengan menyumbangkan sejumlah besar dana ke berbagai organisasi amal dan program penelitian ilmiah melalui Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation yang didirikan tahun 2000.

Bill Gates mengundurkan diri dari jabatannya sebagai pejabat eksekutif tertinggi di Microsoft pada bulan Januari 2000. Ia masih menjabat sebagai ketua dan membentuk jabatan kepala arsitek perangkat lunak. Pada Juni 2006, Gates mengumumkan bahwa ia akan bekerja paruh waktu di Microsoft dan purna waktu di Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ia melimpahkan secara bertahap semua pekerjaannya kepada Ray Ozzie, kepala arsitek perangkat lunak, dan Craig Mundie, pejabat riset dan strategi tertinggi Microsoft. Hari kerja purna waktu terakhir Gates di Microsoft adalah 27 Juni 2008. Saat ini, ia masih bekerja di Microsoft sebagai ketua non-eksekutif.

Kehidupan Awal


 William H. Gates, ayah Bill Gates.

Perkenalan dengan komputer

Gates lahir di Seattle, Washington, dari pasangan William H. Gates, Sr. dan Mary Maxwell Gates. Ia memiliki darah Inggris, Jerman, Skotlandia, dan Irlandia. Keluarganya termasuk masyarakat menengah ke atas; ayahnya adalah pengacara ternama, ibunya menjabat sebagai anggota dewan direktur First Interstate BancSystem dan United Way, dan ayahnya, J. W. Maxwell, adalah presiden bank nasional. Gates memiliki seorang kakak bernama Kristianne dan seorang adik bernama Libby. Ia merupakan keturunan keempat dalam keluarganya, namun dikenal sebagai William Gates III atau “Trey” karena ayahnya menyandang akhiran “II”.

Gates tertarik dengan komputer sejak saat ia masih berusia belia. Perkenalannya dengan komputer terjadi ketika ia berusia 13 tahun. Saat itu, Mothers Club di sekolahnya, Lakeside School, membeli sebuah terminal Teletype Model 33 ASR dan beberapa komputer General Electric (GE) untuk para siswa. Melihat komputer tersebut, Gates tertarik dan mulai mempelajarinya. Ia tertarik dengan kemampuan mesin tersebut mengeksekusi kode perangkat lunak dengan sempurna dan menulis program komputer pertamanya di sini menggunakan bahasa pemrograman BASIC. Ketika ia mengenang kembali masa-masa itu, ia mengatakan, “Ada sesuatu yang pas dengan mesin tersebut.”

Dari sana, ia mempelajari sistem lain, termasuk sistem minikomputer DEC PDP, khususnya PDP-10 yang dimiliki oleh Computer Center Corporation (CCC). Penggunaan komputer PDP-10 ini dibatasi waktu. Gates bersama beberapa temannya seperti Paul Allen, Ric Welland, dan Kent Evans, memutuskan untuk mengeksploitasi sebuah bug pada sistem operasi untuk memperoleh waktu tambahan penggunaan komputer. Namun mereka tertangkap tangan dan akhirnya dilarang oleh CCC untuk mengakses sistem itu selama musim panas.

Mempelajari bahasa pemrograman


Komputer Traf-O-Data 8008 dengan pembaca pita

Menjelang akhir masa hukuman, keempatnya malah ditawarkan untuk menemukan bug lain di perangkat lunak CCC dengan imbalan waktu tambahan untuk penggunaan komputer. Di kantor CCC inilah Gates mempelajari kode sumber berbagai program, termasuk program yang ditulis dalam bahasa FORTRAN dan LISP. Ia dan kawannya bekerja di sana hingga tahun 1970 ketika CCC ditutup karena bangkrut.

Pada tahun berikutnya, Information Sciences, Inc. mempekerjakan empat siswa Lakeside tersebut untuk menulis program pembayaran gaji dalam bahasa COBOL dan memberikan royalti untuk penjualan program tersebut sebagai tambahan hak akses ke komputer perusahaan. Gates juga mendapat pekerjaan tambahan ketika sekolah memintanya untuk membuat program pengatur jadwal kelas siswa. Gates memanfaatkan ini dengan mengubah sebagian program agar ia ditempatkan di kelas yang didominasi perempuan. Pada usia 17 tahun, Gates dan Allen mendirikan Traf-O-Data yang fokus pada sistem penghitung lalu lintas yang berbasis prosesor Intel 8008.

Gates lulus dari Lakeside School pada tahun 1973. Setelah itu ia mengambil tes SAT dan mendapatkan skor yang sangat tinggi, yaitu 1590 dari 1600. Dengan nilai itu, ia diterima di Harvard College di mana ia bertemu dengan Steve Ballmer yang kelak menggantikan Gates sebagai CEO Microsoft. Pada tahun keduanya di Harvard, Gates merancang sebuah algoritme untuk penyortiran panekuk sebagai solusi atas satu dari serangkaian masalah yang belum terpecahkan dalam kelas kombinatorika oleh Harry Lewis, salah seorang profesornya. Solusi Gates memegang rekor sebagai versi tercepat selama 30 tahun; penggantinya justru lebih cepat satu persen saja. Solusinya kemudian diresmikan dalam bentuk cetakan bekerja sama dengan ilmuwan komputer Harvard, Christos Papadimitriou.

Gates tidak punya rencana belajar tetap ketika menjadi mahasiswa di Harvard dan menghabiskan banyak waktunya dengan menggunakan komputer sekolah. Gates masih berkomunikasi dengan Paul Allen, dan ia bergabung dengannya di Honeywell pada musim panas 1974. Pada tahun berikutnya, MITS Altair 8800 berbasis CPU Intel 8080 diluncurkan, dan Gates dan Allen melihat peluncurannya sebagai kesempatan untuk mendirikan perusahaan perangkat lunak komputer sendiri. Ia telah membicarakan keputusan ini bersama orang tuanya yang sangat mendukungnya setelah mereka melihat antusiasme Gates untuk mendirikan perusahaan.



Setelah membaca majalah Popular Electronics edisi Januari 1975 yang mendemonstrasikan Altair 8800, Gates menghubungi Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), pencipta mikrokomputer baru tersebut, dan menginformasikan bahwa ia dan teman-temannya sedang mengerjakan penerjemah BASIC untuk digunakan sebagai platformnya. Kenyataannya, Gates dan Allen tidak memiliki komputer Altair dan belum menulis sebarispun kode BASIC; mereka hanya ingin membuat MITS tertarik.


MITS Altair 8800 Computer dengan sistem cakram flopi 8-inch (200 mm)

Menanggapi informasi tersebut, Presiden MITS Ed Roberts setuju menemui mereka untuk melihat demonya. Dalam kurun beberapa minggu, mereka mengembangkan emulator Altair yang beroperasi di sebuah minikomputer dan kemudian penerjemah BASIC. Demonstrasi yang diadakan di kantor MITS di Albuquerque tersebut berhasil dan menghasilkan kesepakatan dengan MITS untuk mendistribusikan penerjemah ini dengan nama Altair BASIC.

Untuk keperluan proyek ini, Paul Allen dipekerjakan di MITS. Gates kemudian memutuskan untuk absen dari Harvard untuk bekerja bersama Allen pada November 1975. Mereka membuat perusahaan kemitraan dan memberinya nama “Micro-Soft” dengan kantor pertamanya di Albuquerque. Satu tahun berikutnya, tanda penghubung pada nama “Micro-soft” dihapus dan pada 26 November 1976, nama dagang “Microsoft” didaftarkan di Kementerian Luar Negeri New Mexico. Gates tidak pernah kembali ke Harvard untuk menyelesaikan studinya.

Saat BASIC Microsoft dikenal secara luas oleh para penggemar komputer, Gates menemukan bahwa salinan pra-pasarnya telah bocor ke masyarakat dan didistribusikan secara meluas. Pada Februari 1976, Gates menulis “Open Letter to Hobbyists” di surat berita MITS yang menyatakan bahwa MITS tidak boleh memproduksi, mendistribusikan, dan mempertahankan perangkat lunak berkualitas tinggi tanpa membayarnya. Surat ini disambut dingin oleh banyak penggemar komputer, namun Gates mempertahankan keyakinannya bahwa para pengembang perangkat lunak harus mampu meminta bayaran.

Microsoft terbebas dari MITS pada akhir 1976 dan terus mengembangkan perangkat lunak bahasa pemrograman untuk berbagai sistem. Pada 1 Januari 1979, Gates memindahkan kantor pusat Microsoft dari Albuquerque ke Bellevue, Washington. Pada tahun-tahun awal Microsoft, semua karyawan punya tanggung jawab besar atas bisnis perusahaan. Gates mengawasi rincian bisnis dan juga menulis kode. Pada lima tahun pertama, Gates secara pribadi meninjau setiap baris kode yang dikirimkan perusahaan, dan sering menulis ulang beberapa bagian kode agar terlihat pas.

Kemitraan dengan IBM

Pada tahun 1980, IBM membujuk Microsoft untuk menulis penerjemah BASIC untuk komputer pribadi mereka selanjutnya, IBM PC. Ketika perwakilan IBM menyebutkan bahwa mereka butuh sebuah sistem operasi, Gates memberi rujukan kepada Digital Reserach (DRI), pembuat sistem operasi CP/M yang banyak digunakan pada masa itu. Namun, diskusi IBM dengan Digital Research tidak membuahkan hasil, dan mereka tidak mencapai persetujuan lisensi. Perwakilan IBM Jack Sams menyebutkan masalah tersebut pada pertemuan selanjutnya dengan Gates dan memintanya untuk mencari sebuah sistem operasi yang layak. Beberapa minggu kemudian Gates berencana menggunakan 86-DOS (QDOS), sebuah sistem operasi mirip CP/M yang dibuatkan perangkat lunaknya oleh Tim Paterson dari Seattle Computer Products (SCP), sama seperti PC. Microsoft membuat persetujuan dengan SCP untuk menjadi agen lisensi eksekutif, dan di kemudian hari sebagai pemilik mutlak 86-DOS.

Setelah mengadaptasi sistem operasi untuk PC, Microsoft mengirimkannya ke IBM dalam bentuk PC-DOS dengan imbalan bayaran AS$50.000. Gates tidak menawarkan pemindahan hak cipta sistem operasi ini, karena ia yakin produsen perangkat lunak lain akan meniru sistem IBM. Mereka benar, dan penjualan MS-DOS menjadikan Microsoft pemain utama dalam industri komputer.

Pada 25 Juni 1981, Microsoft di bawah Gates melakukan restrukturisasi yang menggabungkan kembali perusahaan di negara bagian Microsoft dan menjadikan Gates Presiden dan Ketua Dewan Microsoft.


Microsoft meluncurkan versi ritel pertama Microsoft Windows pada 20 November 1985, dan pada bulan Agustus, perusahaan ini mencapai persetujuan dengan IBM untuk mengembangkan sistem operasi terpisah bernama OS/2. Meski kedua perusahaan ini berhasil mengembangkan versi pertama dari sistem ini, perbedaan tingkat kreativitas merusak kerja sama ini. Gates mengeluarkan memo internal pada 16 Mei 1991 yang mengumumkan bahwa kerja sama OS/2 berakhir dan Microsoft mengalihkan operasinya ke pengembangan kernel Windows NT.

Gaya manajemen

Sejak pendirian Microsoft tahun 1975 hingga 2006, Gates memegang tanggung jawab besar terhadap strategi produk perusahaan. Ia secara agresif memperluas jajaran produk perusahaan dan ketika Microsoft berhasil mendominasi pasar ia mempertahankannya sekuat tenaga. Ia mendapat reputasi sebagai orang yang menjauhkan diri dari sekitarnya; pada awal 1981 seorang eksekutif industri mengeluh kepada masyarakat bahwa “Gates terkenal karena tidak bisa dihubungi melalui telepon dan tidak membalas panggilan telepon.”

Sebagai seorang eksekutif, Gates secara rutin bertemu dengan manajer senior dan manajer program Microsoft. Beberapa pengakuan langsung dari rapat ini menyebutkan Gates sebagai orang yang menyerang dengan kata-kata dan memarahi manajer ketika mengetahui ada lubang ada strategi bisnis atau proposal mereka yang menempatkan rencana jangka panjang perusahaan di ujung tanduk.

Ia sering memotong presentasi dengan komentar seperti, “Itu hal terbodoh yang pernah aku dengar!” dan, “Lebih baik kamu mengembalikan opsimu dan bergabung dengan Korps Perdamaian.” Ketika bawahannya terlihat menunda-nunda pekerjaannya, Gates dikenal mengutarakan kata-kata sarkastik, “Biar aku saja yang mengerjakannya akhir minggu nanti.”

Sebagian besar peran Gates di Microsoft hanya menangani manajemen dan tugas eksekutif. Meski begitu, ia adalah pengembang perangkat lunak aktif pada tahun-tahun awalnya, terutama pada produk bahasa pemrograman Microsoft. Ia juga secara tidak resmi menjadi bagian dari tim pengembang sejak mengerjakan TRS-80 Model 100, dan juga menulis kode pada akhir 1989 yang diikutsertakan dalam produk-produk perusahaan. Pada 15 Juni 2006, Gates mengumumkan bahwa ia akan menghentikan pekerjaan hariannya selama dua tahun berikutnya untuk memfokuskan diri pada aktivitas filantropi. Ia menyerahkan tugasnya kepada dua orang yang menggantikannya, yaitu Ray Ozzie untuk manajemen harian dan Craig Mundie untuk strategi produk jangka panjang.

Tuntutan persaingan tidak sehat

Dalam operasinya, Microsoft di bawah Bill Gates melakukan banyak tindakan yang menjurus pada tuntutan persaingan tidak sehat misalnya kasus United States v. Microsoft yang terjadi pada tahun 1998. Pada saat itu, Gates memberikan pengakuan dan kesaksian-kesaksian yang cenderung menghindari pertanyaan. Ia juga lebih banyak memperdebatkan arti kontekstual kata-kata seperti “compete” (bersaing), “concerned” (mengkhawatirkan) dan “we” (kami/kita). BusinessWeek melaporkan

Putaran pertama kesaksian menunjukkan Gates memberikan jawaban yang tidak jelas dan mengatakan ‘Aku tidak ingat,’ berkali-kali sampai hakim tertawa kecil. Lebih buruknya lagi, banyak penyangkalan dan pembelaan “tidak tahu” yang dijawab kepala teknologi ini dibantah oleh jaksa dengan menampilkan bagian-bagian surel yang dikirim dan diterima Gates.

Gates kemudian mengatakan bahwa ia perlu melawan upaya-upaya David Boies, penyidik kala itu, untuk menyalahartikan kata-kata dan tindakannya. Gates mengatakan, “Apakah aku mengelak pertanyaan Boies? … (Ya), Aku mengaku bersalah. Apapun hukumannya haruslah dijatuhkan kepadaku: (atas) ketidaksopanan yang sangat terhadap Boies.” Meski Gates meyangkal, hakim memutuskan bahwa Microsoft telah melakukan monopolisasi dan pengikatan, dan menghambat persaingan, serta melanggar Undang-undang antitrust Sherman.

Kemunculan di iklan

Gates muncul di beberapa iklan yang mempromosikan Microsoft pada tahun 2008. Iklan pertama, yang juga dibintangi Jerry Seinfeld, adalah percakapan 90 detik ketika Seinfeld berjalan di depan toko sepatu diskon (Shoe Circus) di sebuah mal dan melihat Gates membeli sepatu di toko tersebut. Si penjual berusaha menjual sepatu yang ukurannya lebih besar satu nomor kepada Gates. Ketika Gates membayarnya, ia memegang kartu diskonnya yang menampilkan versi suntingan foto wajahnya ketika ditangkap di New Mexico pada tahun 1977 akibat pelanggaran lalu lintas.

Ketika mereka berdua berjalan keluar mal, Seinfeld bertanya kepada Gates apakah ia telah menyatukan pikirannya dengan para pengembang lain, setelah dijawab ya, ia bertanya lagi apakah mereka bekerja sama untuk membuat komputer yang bisa dimakan, dan Gates menjawab ya. Beberapa orang mengatakan bahwa iklan ini merupakan penghormatan atas acara Seinfeld (Seinfeld). Pada iklan kedua, Gates dan Seinfeld menginap di rumah sebuah keluarga kelas menengah dan mencoba menyesuaikan diri dengan orang-orang biasa.


Sejak meninggalkan Microsoft, Gates melanjutkan aktivitas filantropinya dan, di antara proyek-proyek lain, membeli hak video serial Messenger Lectures berjudul The Character of Physical Law, disampaikan di Cornell University oleh Richard Feynman pada tahun 1964 dan direkam oleh BBC. Video-video tersebut tersedia untuk umum secara daring di Project Tuva Microsoft.

Pada April 2010, Gates diundang untuk mengunjungi dan menyampaikan ceramah di Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ia meminta mahasiswa untuk menangani masalah-masalah besar dunia yang akan mereka alami pada masa depan.

Kehidupan pribadi


 Bill dan Melinda Gates, Juni 2009

Gates menikahi Melinda French pada 1 Januari 1994. Mereka dikaruniai tiga orang anak: Jennifer Katharine Gates (lahir 1996), Rory John Gates (lahir 1999), dan Phoebe Adele Gates (lahir 2002). Rumah keluarga Gates merupakan sebuah rumah bawah tanah di sisi sebuah bukit yang menghadap Lake Washington di Medina. Menurut catatan publik King County, pada 2006 nilai total properti (tanah dan rumah) keluarga Gates adalah $125 juta, dan pajak properti setiap tahunnya sebesar $991.000.

Rumah seluas 66.000 sq ft (6.100 m2) ini memiliki kolam renang seluas 60-foot (18 m) dengan sistem musik bawah air, serta gimnasium seluas 2.500 sq ft (230 m2) dan ruang makan seluas 1.000 sq ft (93 m2).

Termasuk di antara akuisisi pribadi Gates adalah Codex Leicester, yaitu koleksi tulisan Leonardo da Vinci, yang dibeli Gates senilai $30,8 juta melalui pelelangan tahun 1994. Gates juga dikenal sebagai seorang kutu buku, dan langit-langit perpustakaan besar di rumahnya dipenuhi ukiran kutipan dari The Great Gatsby. Ia juga senang bermain kartu bridge, tenis, dan golf.

Gates pernah menempati peringkat pertama pada daftar orang terkaya Forbes 400 sejak 1993 hingga tahun 2007, dan peringkat satu pada daftar The World’s Richest People Forbes sejak 1995 hingga 2007 dan 2009. Pada 1999, kekayaan Gates pernah melewati angka $101 miliar, akibatnya media menyebutnya sebagai “centibillionaire”.

Sejak 2000, jumlah nominal sahamnya di Microsoft menurun karena jatuhnya harga saham Microsoft setelah pecahnya gelembung dot-com dan sumbangan multi-miliar dolar kepada berbagai yayasan amal. Pada wawancara bulan Mei 2006, Gates berkomentar bahwa ia bukanlah orang terkaya di dunia karena ia tidak suka perhatian yang muncul akibat gelar tersebut.

Gates memiliki beberapa investasi di luar Microsoft yang pada 2006 menggajinya sebesar $616.667, serta bonus $350.000, sehingga totalnya mencapai $966.667. Ia mendirikan Corbis, sebuah perusahaan gambar digital, pada tahun 1989. Pada tahun 2004 ia menjadi direktur Berkshire Hathaway, perusahaan investasi yang diketuai oleh sahabat lamanya, Warren Buffett. Pada Maret 2010, Bill Gates menempati peringkat kedua sebagai orang terkaya di dunia setelah dikalahkan Carlos Slim.


Gates mulai menghargai harapan masyarakat terhadapnya ketika opini publik terus menyatakan bahwa Gates mampu menyumbangkan sebagian kekayaannya untuk amal. Gates mempelajari karya Andrew Carnegie dan John D. Rockefeller, dan pada 1994 ia menjual sebagian sahamnya di Microsoft untuk mendirikan William H. Gates Foundation.


Gates (kedua dari kanan) bersama Bono, Ratu Rania dari Yordania, mantan Perdana Menteri Britania Raya Gordon Brown, Presiden Umaru Yar’Adua dari Nigeria dan peserta lain dalam ‘Call to Action on the Millennium Development Goals’ pada Pertemuan Tahunan Forum Ekonomi Dunia 208 di Davos, Swiss

Sebelumnya, Gates dan ayahnya pernah bertemu dengan Rockefeller beberapa kali, dan sepakat untuk memfokuskan kegiatan amal mereka seperti yang dilakukan keluarga Rockefeller, yaitu menyelesaikan masalah-masalah global yang diabaikan oleh pemerintah dan organisasi lainnya.

Pada tahun 2000, Gates dan istrinya menggabungkan tiga yayasan keluarga menjadi satu dan membentuk yayasan amal Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, yang saat ini merupakan yayasan amal yang beroperasi secara transparan terbesar di dunia.

Yayasan ini mengizinkan para donatur mengakses informasi tentang bagaimana uang yayasan dikeluarkan, tidak seperti organisasi amal besar lainnya seperti Wellcome Trust. Kedermawanan dan filantropi luas David Rockefeller telah diakui sebagai pengaruh besar yayasan ini. Gates dan ayahnya bertemu dengan Rockefeller beberapa kali dan mencontoh sebagian cara penyalurannya pada fokus filantropi keluarga Rockefeller, terutama masalah-masalah global yang diabaikan oleh pemerintahan dan organisasi lain.

Pada tahun 2007, Bill dan Melinda Gates merupakan filantropis paling dermawan kedua di Amerka Serikat, dengan sumbangan untuk amal sebanyak $28 miliar.

Pada saat yang sama yayasan ini dikritik karena menginvestasikan aset yang belum didistribusikan dengan tujuan eksklusif memaksimalkan pulangan investasi. Akibatnya, investasi mereka meliputi perusahaan-perusahaan yang dituduh memperburuk kemiskinan di negara-negara berkembang yang justru keberadaannya berusaha dikurangi oleh yayasan ini.

Investasi mereka meliputi perusahaan-perusahaan yang banyak menghasilkan polusi, dan perusahaan farmasi yang tidak menjual produk-produknya ke negara berkembang.

Sebagai tanggapan atas kritik pers, pada 2007 yayasan ini mengumumkan peninjauan atas semua investasinya untuk menilai tanggung jawab sosialnya.[60] Yayasan ini kemudian membatalkan peninjauan dan mempertahankan kebijakan investasi untuk pulangan maksimal, dan menggunakan hak suara untuk mempengaruhi praktik perusahaan.

Istri Gates mengajak masyarakat untuk belajar dari usaha-usaha filantropi keluarga Salwen, yang menjual rumahnya dan menyumbangkan setengah nilainya, sebagaimana disebutkan dalam buku The Power of Half. Gates dan istrinya mengundang Joan Salwen ke Seattle untuk membicarakan tentang hal-hal yang dilakukan oleh keluarga tersebut, dan pada 9 Desember 2010, Gates, investor Warren Buffett, dan Mark Zuckerberg (CEO Facebook) menandatangani janji yang mereka sebut “Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge”. Isinya adalah mereka berjanji untuk menyumbangkan setengah kekayaan mereka untuk amal secara bertahap.


Pada tahun 1987, Gates secara resmi dinyatakan sebagai seorang miliarder dalam halaman 400 Richest People in America majalah Forbes, beberapa hari sebelum ulang tahunnya yang ke-32. Sebagai miliarder usaha sendiri termuda di dunia, kekayaannya mencapai $1,25 miliar, $900 juta lebih banyak daripada tahun sebelumnya, ketika ia masuk pertama kalinya dalam daftar ini.

Majalah Time menamai Gates sebagai satu dari 100 orang paling berpengaruh pada abad ke-20, serta satu dari 100 orang paling berpengaruh tahun 2004, 2005, dan 2006. Time juga secara kolektif menamai Gates, istrinya Melinda dan penyanyi utama U2 Bono sebagai Persons of the Year 2005 atas upaya kemanusiaan mereka.

Pada tahun 2006, ia menempati peringkat kedelapan dalam daftar “Heroes of our time“. Gates masuk dalam daftar orang terkuat Sunday Times tahun 1999, dijuluki CEO tahun ini oleh majalah Chief Executive Officers tahun 1994, menempati peringkat pertama dalam daftar “Top 50 Cyber Elite” oleh Time tahun 1998, peringkat kedua di Upside Elite 100 tahun 1999 dan disebutkan oleh The Guardian dalam daftar “Top 100 influential people in media” tahun 2001.

Pada tahun 1994, ia mendapat penghormatan sebagai Distinguished Fellow ke-20 di British Computer Society.

Gates telah menerima gelar doktorat penghormatan dari

  • Nyenrode Business Universiteit,
  • Breukelen, Belanda, pada tahunn 2000;
  • Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Swedia pada tahun 2002;

diundang pada tahun 2003 untuk menyampaikan ceramah intisari di hadapan Golden Jubilee of the Indian Institute of Technology yang diadakan di

  • San Jose, California;
  • Waseda University, Tokyo, Jepang pada tahunn 2005;
  • Tsinghua University, Beijing, Cina, pada bulan April 2007;
  • Harvard University pada bulan Juni 2007;
  • Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, pada bulan Januari 2008, dan
  • Cambridge University pada bulan Juni 2009.

Ia juga dijadikan sebagai anggota kehormatan Peking University pada tahun 2007.

Gates juga diberikan gelar kehormatan Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) oleh Ratu Elizabeth II pada tahun 2005. Para entomolog juga memberi nama bunga kembang Bill Gates, Eristalis gatesi, sebagai tanda penghormatan.

Pada November 2006, ia dan istrinya diberi penghargaan Order of the Aztec Eagle atas aktivitas filantropi mereka di seluruh dunia dalam bidang kesehatan dan pendidikan, terutama di Meksiko, dan tepatnya pada program “Un país de lectores”. Pada Oktober 2009, diumumkan bahwa Gates diberi penghargaan 2010 Bower Award for Business Leadership dari The Franklin Institute atas pencapaiannya dalam bisnis dan aktivitas filantropinya. Pada tahun 2010, ia memperoleh Silver Buffalo Award dari Boy Scouts of America, penghargaan tertinggi untuk orang dewasa, atas jasanya kepada para pemuda.


  • Cascade Investments LLC, perusahaan investasi dan holding swasta Amerika Serikat yang diawasi oleh Bill Gates dan berkantor pusat di kota Kirkland, Washington.
  • bgC3, perusahaan wadah pemikir baru yang didirikan oleh Bill Gates.
  • Corbis, perusahaan jasa pemberi lisensi dan hak cipta gambar digital.
  • TerraPower, perusahaan desain reaktor nuklir.


Gates telah menulis dua buku:

  • The Road Ahead (1995)
  • Business @ the Speed of Thought (1999)


Gates pernah muncul di satu film:

  • Waiting For Superman

Gates juga muncul di sebuah film tentang sejarah industri komputer pribadi:

  • Pirates of Silicon Valley – dokudrama 1999 yang menceritakan kebangkitan Apple dan Microsoft. Ia diperankan oleh Anthony Michael Hall.