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Iowa History Daily: September 5 - Gateway Computer

Iowa History Daily: On September 5, 1985, Ted Waitt and Mike Hammond founded Gateway Computers (then TIPC Network) in a Sioux City farmhouse. The company which shipped products in cow-themed boxes, grew alongside the personal computing boom of the late 1980s to quickly become an iconic example of Iowa ingenuity.

Waitt and Hammond met while working at a Des Moines area computer store. Utilizing a $10,000 loan from Waitt’s grandmother, the company started out selling add-on components for Texas Instrument computers out of the house on Waitt’s Sioux City area cattle farm. The company racked up over $100,000 in sales over the first four months.

During 1986, the company started locally selling their own hand-assembled computers locally on an experimental basis while also rebranding to “Gateway 2000.” The company rapidly grew in profitability during the late 1980s, seeing a revenue increase from $1.5 million in 1987 to $12 million in 1988. In 1988, Gateway 2000 moved from the Waitt family ranch to a new headquarters in the 5,000-square-foot Livestock Exchange building in downtown Sioux City.

Two years later the company moved out of Iowa to capitalize on tax opportunities in South Dakota. At its peak in the year 2000, the company employed nearly 25,000 worldwide. Following a seven-year-long slump, punctuated by the acquisition of rival computer manufacturer eMachines in 2004 and massive consolidation of the company's various divisions in an attempt to curb losses and regain market share, Gateway was acquired by Taiwanese hardware and electronics corporation Acer in October 2007 for $710 million. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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