General Systems

Division name: General Systems

Founded: 1975
Address: 19447 Pruneridge Avenue, Cupertino California
General Systems Division at Building 47 in Cupertino


The HP 3000 activities of the Data Systems Division were spun off in August of 1975 to form the General Systems Division (which also had responsibility for HP-2000 timeshare systems which were declining in importance). The first general manager of GSD was Ed McCracken. In November of 1975, GSD began the first of many moves. GSD moved from the Cupertino facility (11000 Wolfe Road) to HP’s Santa Clara facility at 5303 Stevens Creek Blvd.

GSD introduced the HP 3000 Series II in May of 1976. It was the most expensive product sold by HP to date, with prices ranging between $110,000 and $350,000. The Series II was a big success for HP. It firmly established HP as a player in the business minicomputer market, and erased any lingering doubts created by the original 3000 debacle. By January of 1978, GSD had shipped 1000 of the Series II computers. GSD introduced the 3000 Series I computer in 1977 (after the introduction of the Series II). The Series I was made from parts of old HP 3000 computers that had been upgraded by customers.

In 1978, GSD introduced the HP 300 AMIGO small business computer which was a commercial failure and was easily upstaged by Fort Collins Division’s HP 250. In October of that year, GSD introduced the new low end of the 3000 family, the Series 33 (based on HP's proprietary silicon on saphire technology). In 1978, GSD also obsoleted the last of the old HP-2000 computers.

HP's 3000 business grew rapidly in the latter half of the 1970s, from annual sales of $21 million in 1975 to $157 million in 1979. HP's 2000 business disappeared during this period, declining from annual revenues of $6.6 million in 1976 to under $2 million in 1978.

In April of 1979, GSD moved back to the Cupertino facility into buildings 47 and 48, located at 19447 Pruneridge Avenue. The Cupertino campus now consisted of six large buildings. By the beginning of 1980, HP 3000 computer systems (with attached peripherals) accounted for forty percent of HP’s total computer revenues of about $1B. In October of 1979, GSD shipped the 3000th HP 3000 computer (to General Electric in Schenectady, New York). In September of 1979, GSD introduced the new entry-level 3000, the Series 30 Koala.

In June of 1980, GSD opened a new operation in Wokingham England. The Commercial Systems Pinewood (CSP) operation was a software development center headed by Bob Kadarauch. Two early products for CSP were TDP/3000 and DSG/3000 introduced in September of 1980. TDP/3000 sold over $1M in its first seven months on the market. CSP introduced HPMAIL in April of 1982.

In June of 1983, Office Systems Pinewood (OSP), also called the Office Systems Operation (OSO) became the Office Productivity Division (OPD) with responsibility for word processing and office communications software. Bob Kaudarauch was the general manager of the division. The Division’s HP DeskManager became the world’s largest selling email system. In April of 1984, OPD sold the 1000th copy of TDP/3000 word processing software.

In April of 1986, Webb McKinney became the general manager of the Office Productivity Division. In October of 1987, Jeff Graham became the new general manager of the division. OPD was one of the HP divisions involved in the massive NewWave project of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In August of 1989, the division changed its name to the "Pinewood Information Systems Division”. Two months later, the division introduced HP OpenMail, HP’s first email product operating under Unix.

In August of 1980, GSD split into three divisions. The new Computer Systems Division (CSY) continued with responsibility for the HP 3000 hardware and operating system. CSY’s general manager was Dick Anderson. HP’s first software division, Information Systems Division (ISD), was created with Matt Schmutz as the general manager. In December of 1980, ISD introduced IFS/3000 and IDS/3000 for use on the 3000 with the 2680 laser printer. The third division retained the name of the General Systems Division. It had responsibility for the HP 250 small business computers (which had been developed at the Fort Collins Division) with Bill Krause as general manager. By the end of 1980, HP had installed over 5,000 HP 3000 computer systems. By the middle of 1981, HP had shipped its 6,000th HP 3000 system.

In June of 1981, the Information Networks Division was formed from the former Data Communications Operation and Information Systems Divisions in Cupertino. Andre Schwager was the general manager. IND was responsible for networking hardware and software products on HP computer systems.

In March of 1981, Bob Puette became the general manager of the new GSD after a highly-successful stint as general manager of HP’s Computer Support Division. In June of 1981, GSD introduced HP’s first desktop computer based on an industry-standard operating system (CP/M). The HP-125 looked just like and HP 262X terminal. In July of 1982, GSD started moving again. This time, the division moved to the Sunnyvale site (974 East Arques Avenue) to keep company with the Data Terminals Division.

Also in 1982, GSD began manufacturing 3000 computers (models 40 and 44) in Guadalajara, Mexico for sales into Latin America. The Mexican facility was opened because the Mexican government required companies to have a manufacturing presence in order to sell computers in Mexico. The Guadalajara Computer Operation (GCO) shipped its first 3000 in November of 1982. By March of 1983, the operation employed 35 people. GCO shipped its 100th HP 3000 on October 7, 1983.

The Mexican operation was managed by Jose Grapa. HP Mexico was a joint venture with Grupo DESC. HP owned 49% of the venture in accordance with Mexican law that prevented majority foreign ownership. In September of 1983, manufacturing of the 9895A was transferred from Greeley to HP's Guadalajara Division. Within two years, HP Mexico was also manufacturing PCs and other disk drives.

In December of 1988, Bernard Guidon became the GM of GSD.

GSD's primary responsibility in the latter part of the 1980s was the 9000/800 computer systems.

HP sold the Cupertino campus to Apple and vacated the site at the end of 2012.

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