Tuesday, January 7, 2014

HP "Spawned" Biz's

Someone asked re the last post, just what did HP Test and Measurement fund and spawn.

Here is my version:

First acquisition, in 1958, was a majority interest in Moseley recorders.  This was 55 years ago in November 2013, and HP's current website credits this (correctly) as the beginning of HP's imaging and printing business.

Second acquisition, in 1961, was Sanborn Medical.  This became a big business for HP for quite awhile, eventually with some key products including pioneering ultrasound imaging.  Sold to Philips from the Agilent team circa 2002.

Third acquisition, HP Associates, was formed in 1961 as a joint venture, bought outright in 1966.  This group, an early "Silicon Valley" semiconductor company, never got much prominence in the trade press, but its evolution was huge in impact.  Some 90% of all gallium arsenide communications devices (think satellite transmission for the worldwide communications infrastructure) and about 80% of all LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes, those little red lights on your old VCR, or your newer auto taillights, and NOW the White Light headlights on most new cars) were built by HP for the world from 1965 through 2005 when this was all sold to Philips and a private equity firm.

Fourth acquisition:  F and M Scientific, an analytical chemistry measurement company (think Beckman competitor) which became the basis for the Life Sciences work that is the cornerstone for the "new" Agilent Technologies.

Fifth venture, Scientific Computing, was started with an acquisition in 1965 of a smallUnion Carbide group.  This became the HP 2116, morphed into the HP 9100, and then the HP 35 handheld calculator.  Arguably some of the world's mod pioneering computer architectures and successful products of any company, measured in volume, users, and distribution if not revenue.  The Computer History Museum, and most computer historians, are loathe to consider this branch very important, which is a total pity and misreading of true computer history (howze that for a personal opinion?).

Sixth venture, Business Computing, was started with a morphed HP 2116 into the HP 3000.  This marked the start of a great adventure in "real computing" culminating with the Spectrum family under Birnbaum and team.  Eventually, before the Dick Hackborn / Wim Roelandts shoot-out over the hegemony of enterprise vs. PCs, HP had virtually wrestled IBM to a tie in enterprise computing, a position of rough parity that exists to this day.  HP machines (via the Tandem and DEC acquisitions through Compaq) are the backbone of much of the free world's banking systems among other things.

The EDS acquisition is not included in Greg's analysis, because it happened after the Agilent split.

So--on balance, what's the scorecard?  Hummn, what today is a $5 billion business (Test and Measurement for the new Keysight) has funded, e.g. spawned, well over $150 billion in annual revenues, which total some $1.5 trillion dollars since Agilent split from HP.  That's a lot of moola.

Can't wait to see what they do next

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