What classic equipment was rebadged?

From: Derek Peschel <dpeschel_at_u.washington.edu>
Date: Mon Mar 8 04:03:58 1999

I know that Company A would take one of Company B's products and stick a
"Company A" label on it... that's what most people mean when they say
"rebadging", I think. It's pretty easy to spot, if you can find one of
Company B's products for sale.

But I'm also wondering about the case in which Company A *hires* Company B
to make a product, and may even deny that Company B did any of the work. Is
that also called rebadging?

What classic hardware/software companies were most famous for this? I've
learned (from Allison and Megan's various posts) that Digital sometimes used
other companies' stuff -- often at the cheap end of a line of products, I
suspect. What about IBM? Wang? Microsoft?

I'm thinking mostly of the 60's to early 80's. I don't need to ask about
the current state of the computer industry, since I already *know* that it's
near-total anarchy.

You may wonder what brought this stream-of-consciousness eruption on. Every
time I look at TI's calculator web site, I see that they state their
calculators' features in terms of "bid specifications". Now I find that
creepy, personally. I always thought that TI didn't care very much about
its calculators (anyone see any vintage TI calculators to go with the fine
HP machines at the last VCF?). But if TI puts bids out, then they care even
less than I thought. Unless they have some perverse internal bid system?

And that ties into the other reason I made this post. What does the
computer industry look like from the companies' perspective? What sorts of
nasty deals have gone on in back rooms? Big companies love to use terms
like "OEM" or "supplier" but that doesn't even scratch the surface of a
complex web of relationships.

Then there's the even more intricate question of the *information* behind
all of the energy (i.e., the source code, algorithms, proprietary
techniques). Sometimes a high enough price will buy it; sometimes it isn't
available for any price... wierd.

I'll save the question about the quality of the finished product for next
itme. :) Besides, I already think I know the answer: often the quality is
the last priority on the list, and the customer gets the shaft. (At least
lately. Maybe it was different 25 years ago.)

Thanks for reading this ramble,

-- Derek
Received on Mon Mar 08 1999 - 04:03:58 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:32:19 BST