Corvallis

Division name: Corvallis


Founded: 1976
Address: 1000 NE Circle Blvd, Corvallis Oregon.
HP Corvallis Division

Description:

In July of 1974, HP purchased a 145 acre property in Corvallis Oregon as the future site for the Advanced Products Division. In August of 1975, HP began construction of the 154,000 square foot Corvallis plant.

In October of 1975, the Advanced Products Division began assembling some of its handheld calculators (HP-55 and HP-80) at HP’s McMinnville Division, about 45 miles north of the future APD headquarters in Corvallis Oregon. The Corvallis Division opened in early 1976 with Ray King as general manager. In March of 1976, HP announced plans to build a second building on the Corvallis site.

Shortly after the move to Corvallis, the rocket-like growth of the Advanced Products Division (as it was still known) slowed dramatically. This was primarily due to price competition in the market for handheld calculators, particularly from Texas Instruments. Many also believe that the move out of Silicon Valley was a contributing factor. Bill Hewlett blamed HP’s poor fiscal third quarter of 1976 on the poor performance of APD.

In February of 1978, Dick Moore (formerly general manager of the San Diego Division) replaced King as the GM of the Corvallis Division (CVD). By 1979, 1200 HP employees worked out of two 152,000 square foot buildings on the site.The fortunes of CVD swung upwards again when the division introduced the HP-41C in 1979. This LCD-display machine was really a handheld computer. Thanks to the 41C, division revenues grew back above the $100M mark to $120M in 1980, after having bottomed at $70M in 1978. The 1980s saw the handheld calculator business stagnate with revenues averaging around $100 million each year. Senior HP management believed that price competition from TI and new entrants to the industry meant that it was no longer an attractive business for HP. The calculator business faded quickly during the decade especially compared to the explosive growth that HP experienced in other parts of the computer business. The 12C (1981) was probably the last of the truly significant calculators introduced by the company.

In May of 1981, the Corvallis Division was elevated to the status of a group – the Personal Computing Products Group. Dick Moore was head of the new group and remained GM of the Corvallis Division. At this time, the Corvallis Division was responsible for the highly successful 80 Series desktop personal computers. In addition to the Corvallis facility, the group also had responsibility for calculator manufacturing in Singapore and Brazil. Handheld calculators, managed by Fred Hanson, became an operation within the Personal Computing Products Group.

The 80 Series computers produced over $40M in revenue in 1980. Sales more than doubled to $95M the following year.

In November of 1981, the Corvallis Division split. The new Personal Computer Division would focus on the 80 Series computers. Its general manager was Dan Terpack. The Corvallis Division retained its old name. Its focus was handheld calculators with general manager Fred Hanson. In late 1982, the Personal Computer Division introduced HP’s first handheld BASIC computer, the 75C.

In May of 1983, the Personal Computer Division and Corvallis Division combined to become the Portable Computer Division (PCD). Dan Terpack was the general manager. In November of 1983, PCD shipped the 100,000th Series 80 computer. PCD revenues peaked in 1983 at $100M, but declined quickly thereafter to only $20M in 1987.

In late 1984, the Portable Computer Division introduced the HP-110 “Portable” MS-DOS laptop. The Portable was a unique product, but didn’t achieve much market success because it lacked a built-in hard drive or floppy drive. PCD also introduced the Integral computer in 1984. The Integral was the world’s first portable Unix computer. It included a built-in ThinkJet printer (and floppy drive).

In late 1985, HP’s Handheld Computer and Calculator Operation sold its two millionth Series 10 calculator. At about the same time, the operation introduced the HP-94 handheld industrial computer which was on the market for less than two years.

In early 1986, the Corvallis Workstation Operation was established. This operation produced technical products for Vectra PCs including the BASIC Language Processor and Pascal Language Processor systems. These processors were used to give Vectra PCs the same functionality as 200 Series and 300 Series computers for instrument control purposes. Sales of Corvallis Workstation products peaked at $45M in 1987.

PCD introduced the Vectra Portable CS computer in August of 1987. The Portable CS included built-in floppy and hard drives, but it was much larger than the original Portable Plus and did not succeed in the market. In January of 1988, PCD was renamed the “Corvallis Division”. All manufacturing of portable computers was shifted to the Roseville Terminals Division. The former Handheld Computer and Calculator Operation was folded in to the new Corvallis Division.

In 1985, the InkJet Components Operation (ICO) was established under Tom Haswell. In July of 1989, ICO was promoted to division status. The Inkjet Components Division was responsible for the development of inkjet printheads in Corvallis and San Diego. Dana Seccombe was appointed general manager. This business activity was to become the primary profit driver for HP in the history of the company. ICO had sales of $15M in 1986. That revenue grew to over $120M in 1990.

In June of 1991, the Corvallis Division introduced the 95LX palmtop, HP’s first entry into what was to become the PDA market. In 1993, the Corvallis Division also spearheaded HP's re-entry into the laptop after a three year hiatus with the introduction of the Omnibook 300.

By 1996, HP employees 10,000 employees and contractors at the Corvallis site, mostly devoted to the inkjet components business. That number declined to 2000 by 2012.

The Corvallis Division published the Key Notes newsletter.


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