Digital Equipment

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Digital Equipment

(Digital Equipment Corporation, Maynard, MA, The first minicomputer company. Commonly known as DEC or Digital, it was founded in 1957 by Kenneth Olsen, who headed the company until he retired in 1992. Now merged into HP, because Compaq acquired Digital in 1998, and HP acquired Compaq in 2002, Digital pioneered the minicomputer industry with its PDP series. Digital's PDP-1 sold for USD $120,000, an incredibly low price for the times. Digital, HP, Data General, Wang and others created the minicomputer industry, which offered the first "small" computers to the world.

Its early success came from the scientific, process control and academic communities; however, after the VAX was announced in 1977, Digital gained a strong foothold in commercial data processing. The VAX evolved into a complete line from desktop to mainframe, using the same VMS operating system in all models and causing Digital to achieve substantial growth in the 1980s.

Over the years, Digital was widely recognized for its high quality. Its strategy for the 1990s was to embrace open systems with its powerful, RISC-based Alpha architecture introduced in 1992. In addition, Digital had a large services business that provided full project life cycle support from installation to maintenance for Digital and non-Digital products.

In 1997, Digital sold its semiconductor manufacturing facilities to Intel, which continued to make the Alpha chip until 2007. See minicomputer.

Kenneth H. Olsen
Olsen pioneered the minicomputer industry with his PDP computer series. He ran Digital for 35 years until his retirement in 1992. (Image courtesy of Digital Equipment Corporation.)

The First "Mini" Computer
This PDP-1 was Digital's first computer, which was a breakthrough in 1959. Digital spearheaded the minicomputer industry with its PDP series. (Image courtesy of Digital Equipment Corporation.)
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References in periodicals archive ?
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The Plaza Cinema, in Crosby, which needed to replace its dated platter reel system by the end of the year, has raised enough cash to convert to new digital equipment. The popular venue needed pounds 70,000 to upgrade to the digital equipment or it would close.
GraphixOne, a marketer of new and used printing and converting equipment based in Cincinnati, OH, USA, has announced the launch of GraphixOne Digital Equipment Division, specializing in the sale of digital label presses and web converting equipment, both new and pre-owned.
The town's CCTV system was upgraded last year to provide new LCD screens and digital equipment. It was originally installed in 2002, thanks to a Home Office grant, and is monitored by North Warwickshire Borough Council staff.

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