Packard Bell is a Dutch-based computer manufacturing subsidiary of
Acer. The brand name originally belonged to an American radio set
manufacturer, Packard Bell, founded by Herbert "Herb" A. Bell and Leon
S. Packard in 1933. Some websites use 1926 as the founding date when
Herbert Bell was an executive with Jackson Bell Company, Los Angeles,
California. In 1986, Israeli investors bought the brand from
Teledyne, in order to name their newly formed personal computer
manufacturing company producing discount computers in the United
States and Canada. In 2000, Packard Bell, which in the late 1990s had
become a subsidiary of NEC, stopped its North American operations
while in the meantime expanding overseas and became a leading brand in
the European PC markets. In 2008 it was acquired by the Taiwanese
consumer electronic firm Acer in the aftermath of its takeover of
Gateway computers. Gateway products are now sold in the Americas and
Packard Bell products are sold in Africa,
Europe and the
Packard Bell Europe
3 Possible return to the United States
5 External links
Packard Bell logo in the '90s.
In 1986, Beny Alagem, Jason Barzilay and Alex Sandel, as equal
partners, bought the American former radio and television set brand
from Teledyne and resurrected it as a manufacturer of low-cost
personal computers. Their computers were among the first IBM PC
compatibles sold in retail chains such as Sears.
According to Fortune magazine,
Packard Bell sometimes benefited from
misplaced name recognition, with consumers (especially first-time
computer buyers) and even some salespeople erroneously associating the
company with others of similar name, such as Hewlett-Packard, Pacific
Bell, and Bell Laboratories. The confusion was further facilitated by
Packard Bell's then-current slogan, "America grew up listening to us.
It still does." The company also sold nearly identical systems
under different names, making comparison difficult.
Packard Bell Multimedia D160 manufactured in the mid-1990s
Aside from low price and brand confusion, Packard Bell's success in
number of units sold may have come from two areas of innovation: 1)
branding and industrial design, provided by the San Francisco offices
of frog design; and 2) its boot-up shell
Packard Bell Navigator,
created by The Pixel Company in Seattle. They targeted a huge section
of consumers who were inexperienced using computers. Frog design gave
the look of quality and utilized innovations such as color-coding
cable connectors (first seen on the IBM PS/2), while Navigator
provided the ability for users to launch installed programs by
clicking on-screen buttons, and then later a house metaphor. During
this phase, returns dropped from 19% to 10%, and sales grew
In late 1995 to early 1996
Microsoft forced boot-up shells off OEM
computers by updating its
Microsoft Windows distribution agreement
(OPK 2) and Packard Bell, without a clear on-shelf differentiator, saw
sales begin to tumble. Also in 1995,
Packard Bell for not disclosing that
Packard Bell computers
incorporated used parts. This practice was, in fact, widespread in the
computer industry, including
Compaq itself. However, unlike its rival
Packard Bell was judged not to have advertised the practice
sufficiently in its warranties (Compaq, for instance, disclosed it in
the warranty statement).
Packard Bell acquired
Zenith Data Systems
Zenith Data Systems from
Groupe Bull in
a deal which saw
Groupe Bull and
NEC taking a larger stake in Packard
Bell to create a $4.5 billion company. The company then became
NEC Computers. Its 15% market share made it the
largest PC manufacturer, in terms of units shipped, in the United
States. However,
Compaq overtook it in retail sales
in mid-1996, and cemented its lead the next year with the release of a
$999 PC in March 1997.
Packard Bell posted losses totaling more than $1 billion in 1997 and
1998. In the U.S., price pressure from
Compaq and, later, eMachines,
along with continued poor showings in consumer satisfaction surveys
made it difficult for the company to remain profitable and led to
Alagem's departure in 1998. In 1999,
Packard Bell name from the U.S. market, while keeping
it in Europe, where the brand was untainted by allegations of
Packard Bell Europe
Packard Bell's logo 2003–2009.
Packard Bell from the U.S. market, selling their
Utah-based call centers, all its US inventory and all US product
liability to Alorica Inc, who was responsible for providing support to
all remaining US customers.
Packard Bell also entered other businesses
MP3 players. In 2004, the company changed its logo and began
manufacturing media products for television and wireless networking.
Packard Bell also sells accessories and has started operating in other
continents. In September 2006,
Packard Bell was bought by John Hui
(the former owner of eMachines). Now known as
Packard Bell Europe
B.V., the company relocated to
Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
In August 2007, the Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo confirmed its
interest in acquiring
Packard Bell in a move to expand its products
Europe by placing an offer for Packard Bell. In January 2008,
Acer announced that it had acquired a 75% controlling share in the
parent company of
Packard Bell due to ownership rights that it had
acquired when it purchased Gateway the year before, enabling Acer to
counter-offer any third-party bid on Packard Bell, leading to a
Packard Bell is now under the same Acer corporate subsidiary (and
shares components with) Gateway, Inc., a notable former competitor.
From 1996 until 2000, when Strongbow took over the contract, Packard
Bell sponsored English football club Leeds United.
From 2009 to 2010, the name
Packard Bell has been seen on the FIAT
Yamaha MotoGP racebike of World Champion
Valentino Rossi of Italy.
Packard Bell also dropped their sponsorship from the Professional
Electronic Sports Team, 4Kings.
Possible return to the United States
On October 14, 2016 Southern Telecom, Inc. entered into a license and
trademark assignment agreement with JMM Lee to purchase the United
States trademark. Southern Telecom is a Brooklyn-based manufacturer.
Southern Telecom will begin manufacturing
Packard Bell products in
2017. In June 2017
JCPenney revealed that they would begin selling a
Packard Bell laptops as part of their expansion into the
^ Source: Computerhope
^ Source: Computer History Museum,  in Los Angeles
Packard Bell to Calif. Investor
Packard Bell Branding History --Tedium
Packard Bell sells more PC's in the U.S. than anyone, so just who
are these guys?, Fortune, June 12, 1995
^ Sprout, Alison L. with Coxeter, Ruth M.,
Packard Bell sells more PCs
in the U.S. than anyone. So just who are these guys?, Fortune
Magazine, June 12, 1995,
^ Linebach, Nath
Packard Bell Suing Compaq". Chicago Tribune. 11 October 1995.
Retrieved 23 December 2015.
^ Berley, Max (8 February 1996). "
Groupe Bull Quits PCs in 3-Way
Deal". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 25
October 2005. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
Packard Bell NEC, ZDNet, November 3, 1999
^ Lenovo close to acquiring Packard Bell
^ Acer Buys 75 Percent of
Packard Bell – Washington Post
Packard Bell sponsor of Yamaha Factory Racing Team Changeover of
sponsorship from Acer". Acer Group. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 23
^ J.C. Penney to open dorm shops in 500 stores Tonya Garcia,
Marketwatch, June 6, 2017
Support information on old
Packard Bell motherboards
Iconia Tab A500
Iconia Tab 8
Iconia Tab 10
Acer Ferrari products