Digital Equipment Corporation

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A US computer manufacturer, founded by Ken Olsen and Harlan Anderson in 1956 to exploit the research work that had led to the development of the Whirlwind computer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is one of the most famous and spectacular examples of the commercial exploitation of university research. Digital's PDP8 and PDP11 computers were the archetypal minicomputers of the late 1960s to the early 1980s; they were followed by the VAX range of midrange machines and, in 1992, by the Alpha line. Digital's VMS operating system for the VAX was much admired but Digital realised that the future lay with open systems and committed itself to this approach through its OSF/1 operating system (see OSF). At the end of the 1980s Digital was the second largest computer company in the world but it failed to accommodate itself to the changes that were taking place in the world of computing and its sales fell dramatically. In 1998 it was bought by Compaq.

Subjects: Computing.

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