Silicon Cowboys

Launched in 1982 by three friends in a Houston diner, Compaq Computer set out to build a portable PC to take on IBM, the world’s most powerful tech company. Many had tried cloning the industry leader’s code, only to be trounced by IBM and its high-priced lawyers. Explore the remarkable David vs. Goliath story, and eventual demise, of Compaq, an unlikely upstart who altered the future of computing and helped shape the world as we know it today.


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  • ★★★½ review by Gabriel Paes on Letterboxd

    Omg... PAQRAP!

  • ★★★★½ review by vm on Letterboxd

    great in-depth doc about the PC revolution. i'm obsessed with Halt & Catch Fire, so it's cool to see a detailed look at what the show is modelled after.

  • ★★★½ review by RAWisROLLIE on Letterboxd

    Halt and Catch Fire borrows a bit from Compaq's history and this documentary on Compaq borrows a bit back.

  • ★★★½ review by Adrian Z. on Letterboxd

    Solid account of the rise of Compaq, pits the small company against IBM through a David and Goliath allegory. IBM gets to be the boogeyman of the piece, but Compaq got started by reverse engineering IBM's products anyway (not unusual, but ethically grey), so perhaps it could have gone easier on that company which did so much for the PC industry. Nevertheless, Compaq's claim to fame is the first portable computer (when "portable" meant carrying around a sewing machine sized box) and from a business perspective, there is an interesting narrative here delivered by a lot of the people who made it all happen.

  • ★★★½ review by Reasonwasout on Letterboxd

    Earnestly enjoyable, though it seems to end abruptly. It's a story I haven't heard before (though it's evidently the story behind Halt and Catch Fire) and it's terribly interesting and sort of goes against the traditional computer narrative we hear so much of (Silicon Valley, Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs, etc).

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