Updated at: 19-05-2022 - By: Leo Hall

In the early days of computer technology, Compaq.com may be familiar to you. In the past, Compaq competed with IBM in the computer industry. Compaq began as a direct competitor to IBM, with a market capitalization of barely 1% of IBM’s. Compaq, on the other hand, was able to grow to greatness because to some excellent manufacturing and business decisions.

Rod Canion, Jim Harris, and Bill Murto launched Compaq.com in 1982. Compaq’s goal was to build smaller, more portable, and more cheap computers, unlike the other computer supergiants at the time. They were able to accomplish this goal, and it was a major factor in their rapid expansion.

Compaq’s ability to manufacture its own products was another asset. Compaq, unlike many other firms at the time, elected to make their computers compatible with IBM rather than creating exclusive products. Because they were able to combine compatibility with a low price, they immediately dominated the market. Their systems are just as powerful and high-quality as IBM’s.

Compaq was the first four-year-old company to make the Fortune 500 list. Their first billion-dollar year was 1987, and they more than tripled their sales by 1991.

Perhaps Rod Canion, Compaq’s first CEO, is to blame for the company’s early success. However, he was fired as CEO in the early 1990s owing to internal disagreements. Eckhard Pfeiffer was just appointed as the company’s new CEO. Afterwards, Compaq began to take a different path.

It was under Pfeiffer’s direction that Compaq rose to the position of top PC manufacturer, surpassing even IBM. It wasn’t always a success for Pfeiffer, though, and they eventually lost the advantage they had earned over their competition.


An American information technology firm called Compaq was started in 1982 by Rod Canion; Jim Harris; and Bill Murto with just $3,000.

The founders of the company had the goal to manufacture portable personal computers with the power to compete with IBM machines, thus they began developing and selling computers and related products and services.

After becoming the first business to effectively and legally clone an IBM PC in the 1990s, Compaq rose to popularity as a major PC system supplier. After just four years of existence, it became the youngest ever Fortune 500 corporation.

Hewlett Packard acquired Compaq in 2002 for $24.2 billion, less than two decades after the story began. In 2013, the Compaq brand was phased out in favor of a new line of lower-end HP PCs that carried the Compaq name.

The rapid growth and collapse of Compaq can be attributed to a number of factors. Let’s take a closer look at them.

DEC merger

It was a massive merger in the computer business when Compaq paid $9.6 billion to buy Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC).

Theoretically, Compaq may take advantage of the corporate and enterprise market through this partnership. However, the parts of DEC that made the greatest money were those that Compaq didn’t want to pursue. Silicon chip fabrication, minicomputers, and enterprise consulting were among the many services provided by these companies. Due to incompatibility with Compaq’s PCs, chip production was a poor fit for the company.

Compaq’s demise began with the acquisition of DEC. There was a conflict of workplace culture between the two companies, which led to redundancies and a decrease in morale. Products that could not be sold were the result of a lack of efficiency. As a result, retailers were compelled to sell Compaq stock at absurdly low prices, which infuriated Microsoft and other partners.

Increased competition

Several rivals snatched market share away from Compaq in the late 1990s as corporate management managed the aftermath from the DEC acquisition.

Many computer manufacturers benefited from consumers’ growing concern about the year 2000’s potential impact on their systems, including Dell, Gateway, HP and IBM. This trend was missed by Compaq, which was obsessed with the need to build a direct-order company in order to compete with Dell.

Dell overtook Compaq in total PC sales two years later.

Dot-com bust

The burst of the dot-com bubble added to the glut of Compaq stock on the market.

The company lost a lot of business from the dot-com companies that had been its most loyal customers. As these groups were dissolved, there was an abundance of discarded and underused goods. Until the market recovered and the excess was absorbed, Compaq had to compete with its own products to remain in business.


With Intel’s marketing campaign claiming that the CPU was the most crucial aspect of a computer, Compaq’s demise was finalized.

As a result of the success of this argument, Intel began producing chipsets and motherboards for third-party companies like Dell. In other words, Intel was able to undercut Compaq’s prices due to the fact that its rivals’ systems used the same components.

HP saw Compaq as a takeover target because of the lack of differentiation between its computers and those of other brands.

The Fall of Compaq.com

Because Compaq and its website are no longer in existence today, you should know that Compaq’s quick and unexpected demise can be traced primarily to a lack of strategic direction. Compaq was able to maintain its focus on low-cost, functioning personal computers during Rod Canion and Eckhard Pfeiffer’s reign, but it later tried to expand into other markets, to their harm.

To be honest, that was a reasonable choice at the time. Competitors were also focused on expanding into new markets, but Compaq’s method of doing so lacked effectiveness. They bought resources that seemed to contradict the company’s initial strategy instead of bolstering it.

Compaq, for example, purchased Tandem Computers in 1997 as its first acquisition. This transaction was a success, but their subsequent 1998 acquisition of DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) was not. DEC was purchased for $9.6 billion, while Tandem Computers was purchased for $3 billion.

One can easily deduce why purchasing DEC was a mistake. Compaq’s products could not use the company’s computer processors because they were both too little and too weak to work with the company’s systems. In addition, Compaq was planning to stop making its own computer chips at the time, even though they were still producing them.

To make matters worse, DEC specialized in UNIX-based products, whereas Compaq favored Intel- and Windows-based ones. But it doesn’t seem as if they were able to make this merger work in practice to improve product compatibility.

Because of their incompatibilities, mergers like these simply accelerated Compaq’s demise, making the situation much worse. As a result of the widespread belief that Pfeiffer was at least partially to blame for the company’s low morale, he was forced to resign as CEO.

Merging HP and Compaq

When it appeared like Compaq was doomed, an intriguing new idea began to take shape: a massive merger with computer powerhouse Hewlett-Packard. Despite the fact that the merger was completed, Compaq was clearly the loser in the agreement.

Both companies were crippled by layoffs and a reduction in overall share value as a result of internal conflict during the merger. It wasn’t long before Compaq as a brand was no longer manufactured. The once-revolutionary computer corporation, Compaq, is now just HP, with no resemblance to its old moniker. The official Compaq.com website was taken down soon after the merger in 2013, and all Compaq brands were formally retired.

The deal was not, however, a total loss. Despite the fact that HP acquired Compaq in its entirety, the company prospered and grew into the computer juggernaut it is today.

In spite of this, Compaq is still in existence, though not in an obvious location. Founded in 2015 by the Newsan Group, a South American IT business, Compaq Brazil is a brand that manufactures consumer-friendly laptop computers under the Compaq name.


Why did Compaq fail? The ill-fated DEC merger

For more than fifteen years, Compaq was a dominant force in the PC business, but its demise came abruptly in 2001. What were the reasons for Compaq’s demise? As a result of being distracted.

With its merger with Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Compaq signaled the beginning of the end. IBM was struggling, but Compaq was booming. If Compaq could purchase the services industry that kept IBM afloat in the early 1990s, it would be able to thrive much more, the company thought. To say that DEC was a household name would be an understatement. On the surface, it appeared to be a good fit.

As it turned out, Compaq was unhappy with a lot of DEC’s offerings. DEC was a manufacturer of computer components. In order to reduce its dependence on Intel, Compaq was delighted to invest in chipmakers like AMD and even Cyrix, but Compaq did not wish to manufacture chips itself. In addition, DEC’s processors weren’t Intel x86-compliant, thus Compaq couldn’t use them in any of its current operations. Minicomputers were also produced by DEC. It was Compaq’s success selling Intel-based servers rather than minicomputers that made the company famous. DEC also produced Unix systems the size of a refrigerator. Windows NT, not Unix, was the preferred operating system for Compaq customers. The introduction of the minicomputer and Unix business indicated a shift in focus.

Why did Compaq go out of business?

Compaq’s failure was due to a lack of focus. Compaq’s demise began with its merger with Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). … In the early 1990s, IBM was largely kept afloat by Compaq’s belief that it might go even further by acquiring a services company.

Are Compaq computers still made?

However, Hewlett-personal Packard’s computer line still bears the Compaq name, despite the company’s demise.