3Com Founder Bob Metcalfe Weighs in on News HP Has Purchased His Old Firm for $2.7 Billion

It was a newsroom holiday today at Xconomy, but Hewlett-Packard didn’t get the memo that we were off: the California company founded by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard announced today that it would acquire 3Com for $2.7 billion.

You can read all about the acquisition deal at a host of news outlets, including the New York Times. But meanwhile, we have an e-mail to share from the 3Com founder who is a fixture of the New England innovation scene: Bob Metcalfe, now a general partner at Polaris Venture Partners in Waltham, MA.

Metcalfe (the photo of him above is from atop Mt. Kilimanjaro earlier this year), who founded Marlborough, MA-based 3Com in 1979, is known for his humor and wit, which comes through in his e-mail—so business development folks at his deeply loved alma mater be warned.

Here’s his message (with a few Blackberry typos corrected):

Comments on the news:

After leaving Xerox Parc, I founded 3Com on June 4, 1979. We were a com before the dots, and I am what in Silicon Valley they call “old money.”

3Com’s goal was computer communication compatibility — 3Com — and our first three chosen standards, then controversial, were Ethernet, TCP/IP, and Unix. 3Com shipped the first commercial version of TCP/IP for Unix in 1980 and the first PC Ethernet in 1982.

We went three for three.

I was just in Marlborough to celebrate 3Com’s recent 30th anniversary. Exhilarating.

I retired from 3Com in 1990 and sold all my shares soon thereafter to create a blind trust for my 1990s career in high-tech punditry. Today I own a few shares for old times sake, so I won’t be seeing much of the $2.7B. Please tell this to MIT’s resource development office.

3Com grew in the shadow of HP, always asking what would Bill and Dave do. The joke was that 3Com was the best of Xerox technology and HP marketing.

Best wishes to 3Com and HP,

/Bob Metcalfe

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

Trending on Xconomy

By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.

Comments are closed.