BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : JULY 26, 1999 ISSUE
COVER STORY

A Digital Life


MAR. 11, 1933
Benjamin Maurice Rosen born in New Orleans. One of the highlights of his youth was marching in the Mardi Gras parade.

1954
Earns a BS in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, followed in 1955 by a masters from Stanford University.

1959
Rosen spends six months bumming around Europe. He introduces the Frisbee to the South of France.

1961
After receiving an MBA from Columbia University, he embarks on a 20-year career as an electronics industry stock analyst on Wall Street--ending as a vice-president at Morgan Stanley.

1977
Apple Computer launches the Apple II personal computer. Rosen is so taken with it that he carts one around to meetings with Morgan Stanley customers to demonstrate its usefulness as a business machine.

1978
Launches his annual PC Forum conferences, schmoozefests that help coalesce the computer industry.

1981
With semiconductor entrepreneur L.J. Sevin, he starts venture-capital firm Sevin Rosen Funds. Companies it backed now have a combined market cap of more than $100 billion.

1982
He funds hippie entrepreneur Mitchell Kapor's upstart Lotus Development. After a career of nearly 40 years, Rosen's stature is huge, even amid techdom's jumbo personalities and deafening hype

1983
He is appointed chairman of Compaq Computer, a position he holds to this day. The company releases its first product, the Compaq Portable, weighing 28 pounds and costing $2,995. Compaq goes public in December, raising $67 million.

1991
He and the board fire Compaq Co-Founder and CEO Rod Canion after a disagreement over product strategy. Looking back, Canion says it was the correct move to make at the time.

1993
With rocket scientist older brother, Harold Rosen, he launches Rosen Motors, an attempt to get the auto industry to adopt a new turbine engine. The company fails in 1997.

1995
Compaq overtakes IBM to become the world's leading PC company.

1998
Rosen invests in Ask Jeeves, the easy-to-use Internet search service. The company goes public in June, 1999, and his 5.8% stake is worth nearly $90 million. Compaq announces plans to acquire Digital Equipment Corp. for $8.4 billion as part of its plan to become a major player in corporate computing markets.


APR. 17, 1999

Rosen and the Compaq board fire CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer. Rosen is appointed acting chief executive while the search for a new CEO goes on.

JUNE 17, 1999
Rosen announces a major reorganization at Compaq and the company forecasts a $260 million loss for the second quarter.



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