Personal Office Computer

Division name: Personal Office Computer

Founded: 1982
Address: 974 East Arques Blvd, Sunnyvale California.
974 East Arques Ave Sunnyvale


In November of 1982, part of the Data Terminals Division was combined with the General Systems Division at the Sunnyvale facility to form the Personal Office Computer Division (POD). Bob Puette was the general manager of the new division. The new division became part of the Computer Terminals Group. This organization had already produced the first HP business desktop computer (the HP-125 CP/M computer). The Personal Office Computer Division was named in Sunnyvale one year after the similarly-named Personal Computer Division was established in Corvallis. These confusing names operated together (along with Fort Collins’ Desktop Computer Division) until the Personal Computer Division became the Portable Computer Division in May of 1983.

In October of 1983, the Personal Office Computer Division introduced its most interesting product, the HP-150 Touchscreen PC. Earlier that year, all terminal manufacturing in Sunnyvale was transferred to Roseville to make room for the new 150 which was being manufactured on a build-to-stock basis with a volume of 300 units per day. The 150 was HP’s first MS-DOS computer. It came with a touch-sensitive screen and small footprint. It used the new 3.5” floppy discs as standard mass storage. The 150 was just an okay product for HP. It sold mostly into HP 3000 accounts. The 150 was not compatible with software available for the IBM PC and did not have standard PC interface slots. Although the 100 Series product line achieved revenues of over $150 million in 1984, HP was still selling more stand alone terminals at that point. POD employed 1450 staff in 1984.

Also in 1984, the Stanford University Graduate School of Business used POD in a case study. The case study was about just in time (JIT) manufacturing of the HP-150 personal computer. In the first few months of production, the division experienced 30% to 50% downtime while it adjusted to the new manufacturing discipline. In the previous year, the Stanford GSB had run a case study dealing with marketing channels for all of HP's desktop computer business (including Series 80, 100 and 200).

The division introduced the IBM-AT compatible Vectra in September of 1985. “Vectra” would be the brand name of HP’s mainstream office PCs for the next 17 years (until the acquisition of Compaq).

In 1987, the Personal Office Computer Division changed its name to the Sunnyvale Personal Computer Division, with Jacques Clay as general manager. HP sold just over $500 million in Vectras in 1988. But, the product line grew at under five percent in each of the following two years.

In January of 1991, the division’s name changed again, this time to the "California Personal Computer Division”. Shortly thereafter, the division's name changed again to "North American Personal Computer Division". In August of 1991, Duane Zitzner became the general manager of the division.

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