Division name: Boise

Founded: 1973
Address: 11311 Chinden Blvd, Boise Idaho
HP Boise Campus Entrance


In June of 1973, the Data Systems Division of Cupertino purchased a 150 acre site in Boise for a future peripherals plant. In July of 1973, HP purchased manufacturing rights from Tally Corporation for its 2000 printer line (to become the HP 2607). In September of 1973, Boise Data Systems began operation in an 1800 square foot leased building at 105 North 8th Street in Boise.

In November of that year, HP began manufacturing the 2607 in a leased 26,000 square foot facility in Boise as part of the Data Systems Division. In the summer/autumn of 1974, manufacturing of the 7970 tape drive was moved to Boise. Movement of the 7970 to Boise corresponded with a surge in demand, causing long shipment delays (over 12 weeks) by the end of the year. Boise formally became a division in November of 1974 with Ray Smelek as its first general manager. The Boise division earned $20M in revenue in 1975, split approximately evenly between printers and tape drives.

The system tape business performed steadily for Boise until 1979, when sales jumped 75 percent over 1978 levels to over $34M. The business continued to grow until it was transferred to the Greeley division in 1983 with annual revenues running at around $60M per year. It was the third time the tape drives had changed divisions in under seven years.

The system printer business jumped dramatically in both 1978 and 1979 due to the introduction of the 263X printers. Revenue jumped 86 percent in 1978 to $33M. Sales were up to almost $60M the following year.

In August of 1975, HP began construction on its permanent 154,000 square foot Boise plant. Also in 1975, Canon founder Takeshi invited Bill Hewlett to see Canon’s prototype laser beam printer at an industry trade show. HP representatives including John Young were very enthusiastic about what they saw. Don Hammond of HP Labs negotiated the agreement by which the two companies worked together on developing a product. By March of 1976, HP had 400 employees working at the Boise Division.

In November of 1976, HP's disc drive (7900A and 7905A) activities in Boise were shifted to the new Disc Memory Division located on the same Boise site. The new division was headed by Dick Hackborn.

The primary development activity at the Boise Division (BSE) was in the area of impact dot matrix printers for use with HP computer systems. The first of the fully HP-designed and manufactured printers were the 400-lpm 2608 and 136-cps 2631 in 1978. With the 2608A, HP became the first small computer company to manufacture a printer of its own design. Despite the introduction of the new products, HP's system printer business dropped by 20 percent in 1979. It continued steady growth thereafter, but at a much lower rate than HP's other peripherals divisions. It wasn't until 1984 that the system printer business doubled from its 1978 level. This part of HP's business never reached the $100M per year revenue level.

In May of 1979, Boise introduced the 1000 lpm 2619A impact printer (made by Data Printer Corporation).

The Boise Division introduced HP’s first laser printer, the large 180-dpi 2680A, in 1980. The Ricoh-engine 2687 and 2688 desktop laser printers were introduced in 1983. The blockbuster LaserJet made its debut in May of 1984. HP sold a million laser printers in the next four years. The original LaserJets were fully manufactured by Canon in Japan.

The LaserJet range was the most successful hardware product in the history of the company. HP sold $36M worth of LaserJets in 1984 and $190M in 1985. By 1988, the product range was worth just under $1B to the company in annual sales and accounted for over 10 percent of the company's annual turnover. Laser printer sales exceeded $2.2B in 1990, accounting for 18 percent of HP's revenues. The LaserJets were far more successful in America than they were internationally. About half of HP's global sales came from international customers by the end of the 1980s. However, HP only sold half as many LaserJets overseas as it sold in America during this time.

In late 1984, the Boise Division introduced the 2565A and 2566A high-speed impact dot matrix printers (600 lpm and 900 lpm). In 1986, the Boise Division introduced the LaserJet 500 Plus, which added an additional input bin to the original LaserJet.

In November of 1988, the Boise Printer Division started manufacturing formatter boards for use in the new LaserJets, beginning with the LaserJet IID.

In addition to the LaserJets, the Boise Division also made HP’s 256X range of impact dot matrix printers during the 1980s. In February of 1986, Boise introduced the 2567B, the industry’s only 1200 lpm dot matrix printer.

In April of 1985, Doug Carnahan was appointed general manager of the Boise Division (now BOI).

In 1987, the Boise Division introduced the LaserJet II to replace the original LaserJet. The division also introduced the high-speed (20 ppm) A3 LaserJet 2000. The Boise Division also developed HP’s first scanner, the ScanJet. The ScanJet was marketed by the Greeley Division (which took over the development and marketing of all subsequent ScanJets). In September of 1989, the Boise Division introduced HP’s first personal laser printer. The LaserJet IIP was priced at $US 1,495.

In march of 1990, HP introduced the LaserJet III. The LaserJet III was the first printer to incorporate HP's Resoluition Enhancement Technology (RET). This technology gave the LaserJet III a visual print quality approaching 600 dpi for text printing. In May of 1991, Steve Simpson became the general manager of the Boise Printer Division.

In October of 1992, the Boise Printer Division introduced HP's first true 600-dpi printer, the LaserJet 4. HP shipped its ten millionth LaserJet printer in April of 1994.

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