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Appendix C: Selected Company Overviews


A frustrated Robert Metcalfe left Xerox in 1978 intending to make Ethernet a dominant local area networking technology: a technology he had conceived and managed through implementation. The daunting challenge was to pry Ethernet from the proprietary grasp of Xerox. He began consulting. Luck prevailed when a consulting project with Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) led to his getting Xerox, DEC and then Intel to begin conversations that would quickly lead to their working to make Ethernet a public standard. Knowing becoming a factor in the coming commercialization of Ethernet required more than being a consultant, Metcalfe formed 3Com in June 1979. Then, to close a round of venture capital, Metcalfe recruited Bill Krause from Hewlett Packard to be President. Along with engineers who had worked for Metcalfe at Xerox, such as Yogen Dalal and James White, 3Com focused on the nascent personal computer market to the exclusion of other niches such as the terminal-to-computer markets. Their strategy proved successful and 3Com went public in March 1984. In 1985, a proposed merger with Convergent Technologies seemed to be the fruition of a vision of personal computer networking; only the merger was called off at the last hour. 3Com then consummated a merger with Bridge Communications in 1987. Subsequently, 3Com would be a market force in both Networking and Internetworking. In later years, 3Com would enter the Data Communications market with the acquisition of U.S. Robotics Corporation