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Open: How Compaq Ended IBM's PC Domination and Helped Invent Modern Computing

Open: How Compaq Ended IBM's PC Domination and Helped Invent Modern Computing

by Rod Canion
Open: How Compaq Ended IBM's PC Domination and Helped Invent Modern Computing

Open: How Compaq Ended IBM's PC Domination and Helped Invent Modern Computing

by Rod Canion



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The story of Compaq is well-known: Three ex-Texas Instruments managers founded Compaq with modest venture funding. Just four years later, Compaq was on the Fortune 500 list, and, two years after that, they had exceeded $1 billion in annual revenue. No company had ever achieved these milestones so rapidly.

But few know the story behind the story. In 1982, when Compaq was founded, there was no software standardization, so every brand of personal computer required its own unique application software. Just eight years later, compatibility with the open PC standard had become ubiquitous, and it has continued to be for over two decades.

This didn't happen by accident. Cofounder and then CEO Rod Canion and his team made a series of risky and daring decisions—often facing criticism and incredulity—that allowed the open PC standard marketplace to thrive and the incredible benefits of open computing to be realized.

A never-before-published insider account of Compaq's extraordinary strategies and decisions, Open provides valuable lessons in leadership in times of crisis, management decision-making under the pressure of extraordinary growth, and the power of a unique, pervasive culture.

Open tells the incredible story of Compaq's meteoric rise from humble beginnings to become the PC industry leader in just over a decade. Along the way, Compaq helped change the face of computing while establishing the foundation for today's world of tablets and smart phones.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936661923
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Publication date: 10/15/2013
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: eBook
Pages: 256
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Rod Canion cofounded Compaq Computer Corporation in 1982 and served as chief executive officer from its inception through a decade of unprecedented growth and challenges. During his tenure as CEO, Compaq set records for the largest first-year sales in the history of American business and reached the Fortune 500 and the $1-billion-revenue mark faster than any other company in history. By 1991, Compaq employed more than 10,000 people and operated in 65 countries.

Since leaving Compaq in 1991, Canion has been involved in a long list of startups and early stage companies as an angel investor, advisor, and director. He helped found the Houston Technology Center in 1999 and the Goose Society of Texas in 2005, two organizations focused on encouraging entrepreneurs and helping early stage companies succeed. He is currently a director of Invesco, Ltd. and ChaCha Search, Inc., and is an advisory director of Encore Health Resources and Dynamics, Inc.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Why the Open Industry Standard Matters xiii

1 An Unlikely Beginning 1

2 The Road Less Traveled 19

3 The Best Defense Is a Good Offense 35

4 Opportunity Knocks 51

5 IBM Fires the First Shot 59

6 Back at You, IBM 69

7 Patience Pays Off 81

8 You're Going to Do What?! 91

9 The "Death Star" Arrives 109

10 Compaq's Most Unexpected Decision 123

11 Compaq Leads the Revolt 137

12 Intel Begins to Drift 157

13 Exceeding Expectations 167

14 The Open Industry Standard Wins 175

Epilogue: How Apple Became the Computer Industry Leader 183

Appendix: Compaq Timeline 193

Acknowledgments 201

Index 203

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