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Compaq Computer Corporation is an American personal computer company founded in 1982. Once the largest supplier of personal computing systems in the world, Compaq existed as an independent corporation until 2002, when it was acquired for US $25 billion by Hewlett-Packard.
The company was formed by Rod Canion, Jim Harris and Bill Murto — former Texas Instruments senior managers. The name "COMPAQ" was derived from "Compatibility and Quality", as at its formation Compaq produced some of the first IBM PC compatible computers.
Prior to its takeover the company was headquartered in northwest unincorporated Harris County, Texas, United States.
Compaq was founded in February 1982 by Rod Canion, Jim Harris and Bill Murto, three senior managers from semiconductor manufacturer Texas Instruments. Each invested $1,000 to form the company. Their first venture capital came from Benjamin M. Rosen and Sevin Rosen Funds. The original Compaq PC was first sketched out on a placemat by Ted Papajohn while dining with the founders in a local Houston restaurant, House of Pies. The company was founded with the temporary name Gateway Technology. The name "COMPAQ" was said to be derived from "Compatibility and Quality" but this explanation was an afterthought. The name was chosen from many suggested on several occasions by a name consulting company. It being the one that was not rejected from the list on several occasions. Two key marketing executives in Compaq's early years, Jim D'Arezzo and Sparky Sparks, had come from IBM's PC Group. Other key executives responsible for the company's meteoric growth in the late 80s and early 90s were Ross A. Cooley, another former IBMer, who served for many years as SVP of GM North America; Michael Swavely, who was the company's chief marketing officer in the early years, and eventually ran the North America organization, later passing along that responsibility to Mr. Cooley, when Swavely retired. In the United States, Brendan A. "Mac" McLoughlin (another long time IBM executive) led the company's field sales organization after starting up the Western U.S. Area of Operations. These gifted executives, along with other key contributors, including Kevin Ellington, Douglas Johns, Steven Flannigan, and Gary Stimac, helped the company with the IBM Corporation in all personal computer sales categories, after many predicted that none could compete with the behemoth.