The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Garage success stories

Palo Alto, California, Dec. 7 (Reuters): Garages are a thing of lore in Silicon Valley.

Tucked away down a narrow driveway on a leafy, quiet street is perhaps the most famous garage in the valley and, arguably, in all of the technology industry.

It is the garage in which David Packard and William Hewlett launched Hewlett-Packard Co., the world’s second-largest computer maker and biggest printer maker now, in 1939 and named with a coin toss.

Long considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley, the 12-by-18-foot garage was the initial spark for the now-thriving technology business in a region that has given way to business parks, corporate campuses, suburbs and malls from the fruit orchards of the early 20th century.

After HP came other household tech names such as Intel Corp. , the world’s biggest chipmaker, Sun Microsystems Inc. (though both companies were not founded in a garage), online media giant Yahoo Inc. and many others.

But other garages did follow. A short drive from the HP garage at 367 Addison Avenue is the Los Altos garage of the parents of Steve Jobs, where he and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computer Inc., which helped popularize the PC in the 1980s.

“It’s kind of a humbling thing,” HP Chief Executive Mark Hurd said on Tuesday at a small ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Addison Avenue garage to celebrate the completed restoration of the HP garage and the house with which it shares the lot. HP now has nearly $90 billion in annual revenue and some 151,000 employees. Its current headquarters are a 10-minute drive from the house that Hewlett, then a bachelor, Packard and wife Lucile, rented for $45 a month.

Hewlett slept on a cot in an 8-by-18-foot shed in back of the unassuming Shingle Style house ' built in 1905 ' that was split into two flats, one downstairs, one upstairs. Packard and his wife lived in the first-floor flat and Lucile paid the bills and did the accounting from the living room for the fledgling business the two men started with $538.

The garage was designated California Historical Landmark No. 976 in 1987. HP bought the Palo Alto lot, house, garage and shed in 2000 for a reported $1.7 million, and restored them to their appearance in 1939.

More recently, Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google Inc., the biggest internet search firm now, in a rented garage.

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