Packard Bell

From Academic Kids

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Packard_Bell.gif
Current corporate logo

Packard Bell (PB) was an American radio manufacturer, founded in 1933, in Los Angeles, that later became a defense contractor and manufacturer of other consumer electronics, such as television sets. The company was acquired in 1968 by Teledyne.

In 1986, Beny Alagem and a group of investors bought the Packard Bell name from Teledyne and resurrected it as a manufacturer of low-cost personal computers. The computers, among the first IBM PC compatibles sold in retail consumer electronics chains, became popular. However, they also gained a reputation for poor quality, a reputation that worsened in 1995 when it was accused of recycling used parts in PCs that it sold as new. Worsening the situation, Packard Bell frequently used motherboards and power supplies in odd form factors that made replacement parts difficult or impossible to come by, and frequently integrated most components, including even modems, into the motherboard, making upgrades or repairs difficult. Many took to referring to the computers as Packard Hell.

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Packardbell.gif
The Indian logo

Although the new Packard Bell was connected to the old company by name only, it utilized the slogan, "America grew up listening to us. It still does." Packard Bell also sometimes benefited from misplaced name recognition, with consumers (especially first-time computer buyers) and even some salespeople associating it with other similarly-named companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, Pacific Bell, and Packard.

Packard Bell acquired the personal computer division of Zenith in 1995 and when it merged with NEC's personal computer division in 1996, it was a $4.5 billion company and its 15% market share made it the largest PC manufacturer, in terms of units shipped, in the United States. However, Compaq overtook it in retail sales in mid-1996 and cemented its lead the next year with the release of a $999 PC in March 1997. Price pressure from Compaq and, later, eMachines, along with continued poor showings in consumer satisfaction surveys made it difficult for the company to remain profitable and led to Alagem's departure in 1998. Attempts to turn the company around proved unsuccessful, and it lost more than $100 million in 1999.

Packard Bell withdrew from the US market entirely in 2000, although the name survives in Europe, Packard Bell Europe (PBE).

External link

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