Apple’s buy of HP campus evidence of changing of the guard in Silicon Valley

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac “When Steve Jobs was 12 years old, he took a chance and called Bill Hewlett, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co., at home to see if he could get some parts for a school project he was working on in the eighth grade: a frequency counter,” Therese Poletti reports for MarketWatch.

“Intrigued by the gutsy youngster, Hewlett spoke with him for about 20 minutes, and he made sure Jobs got the parts he needed for the project. That call led to a summer job at H-P, where the future co-founder of Apple Inc. worked at the Cupertino, Calif., campus,” Poletti reports. “Years later, Jobs’s friend and fellow Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak would also work for H-P. It was while he was a young engineer working on scientific calculators that he invented, in his own time, what became the Apple I computer. H-P turned down Wozniak’s invention, which he was obligated to offer to his employer first.”

“Jobs has returned to his old stomping grounds, with Apple’s purchase of a large chunk of the old H-P Cupertino campus. In 2006, Apple confirmed that it had purchased some of the land, and the company just completed a deal for a 100-acre portion of the space,” Poletti reports. “It’s a deal that has both companies turning full circle on their storied pasts — and it marks a shift of power in Silicon Valley.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. A delightful shift of power I might add. Amazing for HP to have had Apple dangle in format of them for free for the taking and refuse it. Typical.

    Of course though they wouldn’t have known what to do with it. It’s not like the Apple ideas would have flourished in any other hands but Steve Jobs. History has born that out.

  2. I remember the time, a couple decades back, when H-P bought a huge amount of Real Estate in Massachusetts … the corps of Digital Equipment that came along with Compaq Computer. Digital was once one of the largest land-owners in the state and ran one of the largest airlines in the world! It also owned land in other states … not nearly so impressive, though.
    Picking off H-P one campus at a time may be amusing, but Apple could afford o make a clean sweep of it – and get right back into the server room in a single buy. Of course, then they’d have to figure out what to do with a) millions of cheap Windows boxes and b) HP-UX.

  3. “Apple CEO Steve Jobs poses with one of the company’s first Mac computers in 1981.”

    Reads the caption under a photo of Steve in the MarketWatch story.

    The Mac wasn’t introduced till 1984. Oh, and that’s an Apple II he’s sitting next to, not a mac.

    To be fair, I doubt Therese Poletti wrote the caption.

  4. @Peter Blood

    HP was different back then.

    Now the <u>real</u> HP is known as Agilent; the company called HP is the impostor. And Agilent still probably has frequency counters in stock.

    What airline did DEC run? Or do you mean their computer systems ran?

  5. …”I wonder if Steve Jobs would give 20 minutes of his time to a 12-year old boy calling on the phone”

    It is important to remember that those were the 60s. HP was a small company, Silicon Valley was not on the radar, and most importantly, times were different. Although I have a feeling that, if these were the 60s, and Apple were the size of HP back then, I could possibly see Steve field a call of a 12-year old interested in the nascent field of digital electronics.

  6. @Predrag
    I’m particularly fond of the anecdote about SJ preferring to spend his time with the 9 year old boy to whom he gifted a Macintosh in 1985 at his birthday party over art celebrities like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring.

    “Older people will sit down and ask ‘What is it?’ but the boy asks ‘What can I do with it?'”

  7. No need to bash HP, a company that has been very successful in professional electronic measurement equipment. HP also designed a pretty advanced computer architecture before most people knew what a stack was.

    And no need to bash DEC, a company that owed its success to medium scale academic computing. The PDP-11 16 bit architecture was just clean and beautiful, and later inspired quite a few processor designs, the most notable of which was the Motorola 680×0. Its OS, RSX-11 evolved in VMS, a quite safe and well designed platform (systems that cost an arm and a leg to maintain, moneywise and manpowerwise).

    Both companies tried to make a quick buck entering into the PC business: DEC by half-hartedly supporting PC (and Mac) networking clients and later by merging with Compaq; HP by marketing its Vectra PCs, then gobbling up what remained of DEC/Compaq. (DEC’s Alpha processor ended up in Intel’s hands).

    Maybe these companies (now HPAQ) should have stuck with what they were good at, and they may still be around making very advanced products.

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