The rise of HP up to the present
During World War II the demand for electronic products brought HP many orders, and the company could grow constantly in the subsequent years. HP continued to invent new devices such as the high-speed frequency counter in 1951, which greatly reduced the tim e required (from 10 minutes to one or two seconds only) to accurately measure high frequencies. It was used, for example, by radio stations.
The net revenue went up to $5.5 million in 1951 and the HP workforce was at 215 employees. So, in 1957, the stocks were offered to the public for the first time. The additional capital due to the stock offering was invested to acquire other companies and t o expand globally such as into the European market. As a consequence, in 1959, the first manufacturing plant outside Palo Alto was built in Böblingen, West Germany.
HP entered the Fortune magazine's list of the top 500 U.S. companies in 1962, and established the HP Laboratories in 1966, which were the "company's central research facility") and became one of the world's leading electronic research centers.
In the 1970s, the company's product line was shifted from "electronic instruments to include computers"), and the world's first scientific hand-held calculator (HP-35) was developed in 1972, making the "engineer's slide rule obsolete.")
In the 1980s, HP introduced its LaserJet printer (1985), which became the company's successful single product ever, and moved into the top 50 on Fortune 500 listing with net revenues of more than $10 billion (1988).)
Today, HP has total orders of $16.7 billion and employs more than 92,000 people in the whole world.) Annually, The company spends over 10 percent of its net revenues in R&D. These investments are fundamental to keep up with the "state-of-the-art" technolo gy, which uses the most modern inventions. New products have always played a key role in HP's growth, therefore more than half of 1992's orders were for products introduced in the past two years.) HP's more than 18,000 products include "computers and peri pheral products, test and measurement instruments and computerized test systems, networking products, electronic components, hand-held calculators, medical electronic equipment, and instruments and systems for chemical analysis.")
Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard today rank with America's richest men ($1.7 and $0.85 billion) and are widely respected, especially in Silicon Valley where they are viewed as the two "most successful entrepreneurs in America.") They have spent millions of t heir profits for social welfare and have established the Hewlett-Foundation.)
Hewlett and Packard have set a pattern of an outstanding company against which every new high-technology firm "must be measured.")