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Open: How Compaq Ended IBM's PC Domination and Helped Invent Modern Computing [Format Kindle]

Rod Canion

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Présentation de l'éditeur

The story of Compaq is well-known: Three ex-Texas Instruments managers founded Compaq with modest venture funding. Just four years later, Compaq was on the Fortune 500 list, and, two years after that, they had exceeded $1 billion in annual revenue. No company had ever achieved these milestones so rapidly.

But few know the story behind the story. In 1982, when Compaq was founded, there was no software standardization, so every brand of personal computer required its own unique application software. Just eight years later, compatibility with the open PC standard had become ubiquitous, and it has continued to be for over two decades.

This didn’t happen by accident. Cofounder and then CEO Rod Canion and his team made a series of risky and daring decisions—often facing criticism and incredulity—that allowed the open PC standard marketplace to thrive and the incredible benefits of open computing to be realized.

A never-before-published insider account of Compaq’s extraordinary strategies and decisions, Open provides valuable lessons in leadership in times of crisis, management decision-making under the pressure of extraordinary growth, and the power of a unique, pervasive culture.

Open tells the incredible story of Compaq’s meteoric rise from humble beginnings to become the PC industry leader in just over a decade. Along the way, Compaq helped change the face of computing while establishing the foundation for today’s world of tablets and smart phones.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1464 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 238 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1937856992
  • Editeur : BenBella Books (15 octobre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00DTEZ56I
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°316.498 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  29 commentaires
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Just the facts, ma'am 12 novembre 2013
Par Benjamin Slivka - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Co-founder, CEO, and author Rod Canion does an excellent job laying out the chronology of Compaq, starting with the founding of the company and the key decisions: to build a portable PC, to focus (maniacally) on IBM PC compatibility, to focus on high-performance (and luxury pricing), to ship an 80286 machine that was more compatible with the original (8088) IBM PC than IBM's 80286 machine, to ship an 80386 PC before IBM did, to band together with other PC "clone" makers to announce the EISA bus in response to the IBM MicroChannel bus, and the decision to simultaneously launch both an 80486 desktop PC and the dual-processor SystemPro server that had more power at much lower cost than competing "minicomputer" offerings from IBM and HP. These were gutsy -- and winning -- decisions.

I worked at Microsoft as a software engineer and engineering leader from 1985 to 1999. And for my first 11 years I worked on operating systems: OS/2 (nee MT-DOS), MS-DOS, and Windows. So this book was a trip down memory lane for me. I never met Mr. Canion, but I was always impressed by the people and products of Compaq. Under Canion's leadership, Compaq designed and built the fastest, most reliable (and most expensive) PCs. I still remember fondly getting my first 80386 machine -- a Compaq 386/20e.

The writing style is crisp, functional, and (mostly) devoid of self-aggrandizing praise. I quite enjoyed the book.

But I only gave it four stars because the story is incomplete. It seems improbable that in his nine years at the helm of Compaq, there weren't at least a few major mistakes. Yet Compaq goes from success to success. Canion stress how important the culture and the team are, yet he never dives into any nitty-gritty details about how a single individual or small group of individuals achieved some amazing feat. On the other hand, there must have been a few senior individuals who didn't pan out, but in his telling, every person they hired was outstanding and never made any mistakes.

In his telling, there was little uncertainty. The Compaq "Process" was a methodical way to evaluate situations and arrive at a solution by consensus. There seemed to be little conflict, little agonizing, and no second guessing in any of the major decisions that were made on his watch.

Most puzzling is the end of the book, where he simply leaves Compaq at the end of 1991: "Parting was bittersweet." But according to contemporary accounts, he was fired by chairman Ben Rosen:

"Compaq Chairman Benjamin J. Rosen, a venture capitalist who funded Compaq in its early years, said the board believed that Pfeiffer, a 50-year-old German national who has been running day-to-day operations since earlier this year, was the better man to execute the low-cost strategy."
(See [...]

In focusing so narrowly on his thesis that Compaq laid the groundwork for the "open source" movement of the Internet era -- which I found quite plausible -- Canion missed a golden opportunity to explore why the founding team was unable to adapt to the changing nature of the PC business. That story would have been useful to growing companies everywhere.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Riveting Story, Great Lessons for Apple & Google 4 novembre 2013
Par Brad - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Open by Rod Canion is a riveting story for anyone interested in starting a tech company, anyone interested in the history of personal computing, and anyone interested in corporate strategy. It provides a case study about how a startup company can successfully compete against a much more well-established, and well-funded industry leader (in this case, IBM).

The book takes you through the journey of how 3 entrepreneurs took a leap of faith in leaving their corporation positions at Texas Instruments to start their own company, even though they didn't know exactly what their new products would be. The journey to success was far from guaranteed, and the book tells the story of the key defining moments and decisions in the early life of Compaq, that were make-or-break for the company.

The lessons learned of identifying unmet customers needs and then developing a marketing and product strategy based on excellence in innovation and speed of execution are applicable to nearly any company and industry today.

The book concludes with a chapter about the parallels between the Apple of today versus IBM of the past. IBM was as dominant and respected in the early 1980's as Apple is today. Yet, Apple's strategy of focusing on a closed, proprietary technology platform, is already being challenged by Google's open Android operating system. Time will only tell, but history may repeat itself, and the open industry standards may win out again in the current smartphone and tablet wars. The book's lessons from the past are insightful toward the future of computing.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A heady time... 5 novembre 2013
Par Michael Waugh - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Having been one of the cogs in the wheel of Compaq's success in the late 80's and in to the late 90's, this book is a fascinating look into how Compaq became the hot ticket in those heady times. None of us nearer to the ground had any idea of the back room negotiations, gutsy calls and professional arm twisting that took place to create and maintain the industry standard that led to our success. The leadership and entrepreneurial spirit bled down into the workforce and we were proud to be creating the best computers on the market at the time that were, in fact, American Made. I am grateful that Mr. Canion took the time to write this book and provide the insight to what drove the creation and evolution of this exceptional business success. I highly recommend this book to business professionals to understand the challenges Compaq's leadership faced and how they addressed them and to former Compaq employees so they can reminisce about that crazy ride.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I was there 31 octobre 2013
Par John W. Meaney - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I read Rod's book so quickly, I want to read it again! I was there for most of Rod's tenure as CEO, and will never forget it. There are a number of details that the average person wouldn't have any knowledge of -- even if he or she was following the company in those years. The story explains a lot about how we got to where we are today in technology - how the industry standard became much bigger than any one company - even IBM! If you had any interaction with Compaq, the names of key players at the company will bring back memories, and give credit where it is due for one of the greatest stories in U.S. business history. I'm delighted to have my own copy, and will probably read it all again soon!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Opening of an Industry 30 juillet 2014
Par Troy Blackford - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
I thought I'd give this a whirl because I was interested in the story of how 'IBM-clone' or 'IBM-compatible' third-party PC's began. As I started it, I was a little apprehensive: for whatever reason, I didn't realize that it was written by one of the founders of Compaq, the first CEO, until I started. I worried I wouldn't get an unbiased description of what happened. I needn't have worried: Mr. Canion was in a much better position to describe the events and planning that took place in the history of the company than any impartial journalist would have been. This was a great story, full of hard work, big risks, and massive payoffs. I was too young at the time that all this happened to appreciate the development, but it really transformed the computing environment. The author hasn't been the CEO of Compaq for some time, and Compaq merged with HP in 2004, but this story takes you through the really industry-shifting phase of the company's history in an in-depth yet to the point way. I was very interested, and I can highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the topic.

As a nice bonus, the author adds a section explaining how Apple managed to disrupt the entire PC industry with the iPad, and it was great reading. He is a man of great insight into the computing industry, and it was nice of him to take the time to write this fascinating book.
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