SAN FRANCISCO Nov 20 Hewlett-Packard Co.
is one of Silicon Valley's iconic technology companies.
But the 73-year-old company has faced a rocky road during the
past decade, with a string of CEO changes and controversies that
have ranged from spying on board members and journalists to
Tuesday's allegations of financial improprieties at the recently
acquired Autonomy Corp.
Here is a look back at the history of HP, from its early
highlights to its recent turmoil.
1939: Stanford electrical engineers Bill Hewlett and Dave
Packard found the company out of a Palo Alto, California, garage
with $538 and a Sears-Roebuck drill press. They decide whose
name would go first with a coin toss.
Revenue is $5,369 after one year. Their first product is the
resistance-capacitance audio oscillator, a version of which was
sold to the Walt Disney Co.
1957: HP becomes a publicly traded company with an initial
public offering of $16 per share. Revenue for the year is $28
1968: HP introduces the world's first desktop scientific
calculator that stores programs on magnetic cards.
Advertisements for the device call it a "personal computer," one
of the first uses of the term.
1982: HP debuts its LaserJet printer, the company's most
successful product line ever.
1989: HP turns 50. The Palo Alto garage where the company was
hatched is dedicated as a state historic landmark and named "the
birthplace of Silicon Valley." HP's annual revenue has grown to
$11.9 billion, with 95,000 employees.
1995: Dave Packard publishes the "The HP Way," a book that
chronicles the history of the company and outlines its founders'
people-centric management style, which became a model adopted in
part by many in Silicon Valley including companies like Apple
Inc and Cisco Systems Inc.
1999: HP names Carleton (Carly) Fiorina president and chief
executive. She was the first outsider appointed to lead the
company and the most powerful woman in business at the time. She
was the first woman to run a top-20 U.S. company.
2002: HP acquires Compaq Computer Corp in a $25 billion deal,
after a contentious proxy battle that pitted Fiorina against
Walter Hewlett, Bill's son. The merger vote was seen as a key
victory for Fiorina, who had drawn fire for ordering massive
layoffs and for her top-down management style.
February 2005: Fiorina is ousted by a board of directors unhappy
with HP's erratic financial results and the pricey Compaq
merger, which did not produce the results she promised.
March 2005: HP picks another outsider as CEO: Mark Hurd, the
48-year-old chief of NCR Corp. Though NCR is a fraction of HP's
size, Hurd is credited with reversing the fortunes of the
declining automatic teller machine maker and data warehouse
September 2006: HP says Chairman Patricia Dunn will step down in
January 2007 after coming under fire for ordering an
investigation into board leaks to the media. HP had hired
private detectives to pose as board members and journalists to
obtain their phone records. The so-called "pretexting scandal"
prompted a congressional investigation.
Hurd becomes chairman in addition to CEO.
August 2008: HP buys technology services provider Electronic
Data Systems Corp for $13.9 billion to better compete with IBM
. It proceeds to lay off 24,600 employees to cut costs.
Aug. 6, 2010: Hurd resigns after HP accuses him of filing false
expense reports to hide a relationship with a female marketing
contractor. HP says it will look both externally and internally
for a new CEO. Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak is
appointed interim CEO.
Sept. 30, 2010: HP hires Leo Apotheker, the former head of
German software company SAP, as CEO. The surprise pick of
Apotheker, who left SAP after just seven months at the helm amid
a wave of customer complains, sends HP shares down 3 percent in
Aug. 18, 2011: HP announces plans to acquire British software
company Autonomy Corp for more than $11 billion, along with a
new strategy to shutter HP's mobile efforts and to potentially
spin off its PC business. The Autonomy deal is greeted with
widespread skepticism on Wall Street, with many questioning the
rich price being paid.
Sept. 22, 2011: HP names former eBay Inc Chief
Executive Meg Whitman as its president and CEO, replacing the
harshly criticized Apotheker, in a bid to restore investor
mconfidence in the company.
Nov. 20, 2012: HP takes a $5 billion charge, claiming a raft of
improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures at
Autonomy. HP says it discovered "serious accounting
improprieties" and "a willful effort by Autonomy to mislead
shareholders" after a whistleblower came forward.
HP's stock slides to a 10-year low, losing 11.2 percent to
$11.81 in afternoon trading.