One of the founders of 1990’s giants Gateway Computer has died.
In 1985, Mike Hammond, 53, met fellow co-founder Ted Waitt when they worked for a Des Moines computer and software seller.
The pair created a computer company. They set up in a vacant space on the Waitt family cattle farm thanks to $10,000 in collateral put up by Waitt’s grandmother.
Waitt once told Business Week magazine that because of a non-compete clause with their previous employer he and Hammond operated under the fake names “Max Wheeler” and “Ed Zimmerman” when setting up “Gateway 2-Thousand.”
Originally called Gateway 2000, it was one of the first widely successful direct-sales PC companies, which it copied from Dell. It emphasised its Iowa roots with low-tech advertisements proclaiming “Computers from Iowa?” The computers were built from Texas instrument parts. Gateway built brand recognition in part by shipping computers in spotted boxes patterned after Holstein cow markings.
In 1989, Gateway moved its corporate offices and production facilities to North Sioux City, South Dakota. In line with the Holstein cow mascot, Gateway opened a chain of farm-styled retail stores called Gateway Country Stores, mostly in suburban areas across the United States. It dropped the “2000” from its name on October 31, 1998
Hammond served in various capacities for the company that eventually grew to more than 24,000 employees across the globe. However more people entered the market and profit margins shrank. The company tried to expand into consumer electronics and opened retail stores, but didn’t succeed.
In October 2007, the company was flogged off to Acer for US$710 million. J. T. Wang, the company’s chairman, said in a statement that the acquisition “completes Acer’s global footprint, by strengthening our US presence.”
Hammond when on to set up Dakota Muscle to restore and repair classic cars.
The bloke who created an empire based on really expensive management software, which no one was quite sure what it did, has died.
Klaus Tschira, one of the co-founders of European software giant SAP, has died unexpectedly at the age of 74, his foundation said.
Tschira, a trained physicist, left IBM to found SAP in 1972 together with four IBM colleagues: Hasso Plattner, who is still the company’s chairman, Dietmar Hopp, Hans-Werner Hector and Claus Wellenreuther.
SAP began by developing software that could process data in real time rather than overnight in batches, and went public in 1988.
It is now Europe’s biggest technology company, with revenues of $18.9 billion and had more than 74,000 employees in 2014.
He also founded the Klaus Tschira Foundation (KTF) in 1995 as a non-profit organisation to support projects in natural and computer sciences and mathematics.
Tschira, a billionaire, stepped down from SAP’s supervisory board in 2007. He is survived by his wife Gerda Tschira and two sons.
John Akers, one of the “Last of the Great Big Blue Mohicans” who led IBM to its longtime dominance of the computer industry died of a stroke on Friday. He was 79 years old.
Akers was a former fighter pilot who served as IBM’s chief executive from 1985 to 1993, this was a critical time for Biggish Blue as PCs, Microsoft and Intel started to grow.
However Akers was determined to keep IBM operating using its traditional methods, particularly when it came to being nice to employees.
Akers joined IBM in 1960 and rose through its sales ranks. Four years later, the company released a machine called the System/360 that cleaned the clock of rivals and Akers found himself very busy.
He received 16 promotions in a span of 23 years, but he also dubbed the IBM uniform of blue suits, white shirts and striped ties as “very square.”
As IBM’s mainframe sales tanked in the 1980s, Akers ordered reorganisations and job cuts. During his tenure, IBM posted its first operating loss and recorded more than $15 billion in charges.
He resigned, under pressure and was replaced by Louis Gerstner, Gerstner delivered big changes, including plant closings and a shift away from hardware and toward software and services.
However, Akers was known as a gentleman, who liked and cared for his employees.