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For DEC Alumni (Digital Equipment Corporation)  (Updated Nov 20, 2021.)

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"Potential Private Retirement Benefit" letter from Social Security. Reports the last transaction in a benefit plan that you were once enrolled in. If "Type of Benefit" is coded "A" -- in the previous year, you rolled the money into a different plan, bought an annuity, or took the cash. "M" if you left before vesting in that plan. How to investigate: https://www.hpalumni.org/PotentialBenefitLetter.

HP Breakup. On Nov 1, 2015, the legal name of the Hewlett-PackardCompany was changed to HP Inc. and a new, independent company -- Hewlett Packard Enterprise (no hyphen; singular; green-rectangle logo) -- was spun out. Portions of HPE were later spun out into DXC and Micro Focus, which have spun out other companies. Details: HP Breakup 

HP Inc. is the legal successor to the companies acquired by the Hewlett-Packard Company before the company was split into HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE.) Responsibility for any commitments to former employees of Compaq, Digital, and Tandem remain with HP Inc. -- regardless of whether the employee's last business unit ended up in HP Inc. or HPE. This includes employment verification and any retiree health coverage, pension, 401(k), etc. plans.

Which HP-related companies am I a retiree or former employee of? (Not always obvious.) Given HP's complex history of acquisitions, divestitures, and spinoffs, the company or companies that you are legally a former employee of may not be obvious. If any doubt, check here: Which Company

Info and contacts for those from:  Compaq 

Contacts at HP Inc. -- the successor company: HP contacts

Make sure that HP has your current postal address. Even if not classified by the company as a "Retiree" or if long gone -- in case of pension plan changes, employment lawsuits, settlements, or other issues. (HP Inc. is the legal successor to companies bought by HP -- including Compaq and EDS. HPE is successor to companies it bought -- Cray, Nimble, etc.) Update address at former company

Service at predecessor companies. Of the many Hewlett-Packard predecessor companies, only HP and DEC had retiree healthcare programs. Only HP, DEC, and EDS had pension plans. Over the years, HP, DEC, and EDS set aside money in dedicated trust funds to pay for those programs. Compaq, Tandem, Autonomy, Palm, etc. did not have retiree healthcare or pensions among their benefits programs. Their employees did not have those expectations and there were no corresponding trust funds to pass on to an acquiring company. Therefore, employees of those companies do not get credit under HP's retiree healthcare or pension programs for service at the predecessor company. (DEC employees get retiree health credit for DEC and HP service but not Compaq service.) Confusingly, predecessor service counts for vacation/FTO.


- If you were employed by DEC prior to March 1, 1996: You may have a benefit under the HP Cash Account Pension Plan. Plan details in this HP document, which may be out of date: 2008 HP CAP Summary Plan Description  How to use an SPD

- The HP Retirement Service Center administers pension and 401(k) accounts for HPInc (legal name changed from Hewlett-Packard Company to HP Inc. in 2015.) Also administers any pension or 401(k) accounts that Hewlett-Packard predecessor companies (such as Compaq, Digital, and EDS) may have had. Operated by Fidelity Investments.
1-800-457-4015, M-F 7:30 AM to 11:00 PM Central Time. Outside the U.S., call 1-508-787-9902 collect. Website: https://nb.fidelity.com/public/nb/hp/home

For details of an employer retirement or health plan, obtain a copy of the legal Summary Plan Description ("SPD") -- either by logging into your account on the plan administrator's website or by calling the plan administrator's phone center. They are required by law to provide your SPD upon request. The SPD takes precedence over any other written, online, or verbal information you may be given. How to use an SPD

Retiree Health Program:

- DEC retirees report that Compaq -- and now HP -- have lived up to DEC's retiree healthcare commitments.

- HP's official table to determine if you are qualified for health coverage. Pre-2003, Post-2002, and Digital Retiree Health Programs

- Annual Benefits Enrollment. Details and advice from members: https://www.hpalumni.org/Annual

- Join the HPAA Benefits Group for updates and Q-and-A forum on COBRA and retiree health benefits, annual enrollment, transition to Medicare.

Time to untangle your stock!

- No one but you really cares about your employment-related stock. You may now have stock in up to seven HP-related companies. Your stock may not all be in the same place, or be registered to your current postal address. You may need to find stray accounts or retrieve lost stock, dividends, or cash payouts. The IRS does not have the ability to independently determine your cost basis; you may need to estimate it. An HP Alumni team has developed a step-by-step process. Employee Stock  

- Stock Decoder tables for: Compaq   DEC    Tandem

Employment verification and experience letters for Hewlett-Packard or Hewlett Packard Enterprise, predecessor companies, and successor companies. Employment and Salary Verification   Experience Letter

For those in the workforce, select the links below that fit your situation...

- Current HP or HPE employee: Networking and Information. Join DEC professional networking groups

- HP or HPE employee in the process of leaving or being laid off: ASAP checklist.

- Former DEC employee who never worked for HP: Join the independent DEC Connection and perhaps other DEC alumni social groups. Plus join the HP Connections group on LinkedIn.

Check your LinkedIn profile! You may be surprised. LinkedIn has changed how employers are identified -- dropping employers and modifying profiles without notice. In addition, HP positions were changed to HPE. You want recruiters to believe your profile -- and former co-workers to find you. Step-by-step instructions:  https://www.hpalumni.org/LinkedInPositions

Compaq acquisition of DEC: For each share of DEC owned on June 11, 1998, DEC shareholders received $30.00 in cash and 0.945 shares of Compaq stock. Source: SEC 8K filing  "Compaq Computer Corp., seeking to expand into the lucrative enterprise computing business, agreed Monday to acquire Digital Equipment Corp. in a blockbuster deal worth $9.6 billion. ... $57.41 a share in cash and stock, well above Friday's closing price of $45.44." Source: CNN Money  Article

DEC history and culture

Join the independent DEC Connection and perhaps other DEC alumni social groups.

Original DEC Business Plan: The DEC Connection has a copy of the 1957 document: Ken Olson's Business Plan

Urban Legend:

Did Ken Olsen say there was "no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home"'?
"Legend. The out-of-context misinterpretation of Olsen's comments has been promulgated for decades. What Olsen was addressing in 1977 was the concept of powerful computers that controlled every aspect of home life. The fear that computers might even try to take charge altogether was widely experienced." --Snopes, the urban legend and misinformation reference site  snopes.com article

Videos and articles:
- Gordon Bell's "CyberMuseum for Digital Equipment Corp Documents, Photo Albums, Talks, and Videotapes"
- Website of Gordon College:

Where to sell or donate DEC equipment and memorabilia:



- "Lessons from Ken Olsen and Digital Equipment Corp." MIT Sloan Management Review. "How many current Fortune 500 executives will be remembered fondly by their former employees?"
MIT Sloan Management Review

- "Ken Olsen: Faith, Work, And Charity Support A Computing Career" Doris Kilban, Electronic Design
Electronic Design article

- "Computer pioneer Ken Olsen dies" Boston Globe
Boston Globe article

- "Ken Olsen, Who Built DEC Into a Power, Dies at 84" New York Times
New York Times article

- "Ken Olsen Founder Digital Equipment Corp Passes Away" Silicon Angle
Silicon Angle article


- "DEC Is Dead, Long Live DEC: The Lasting Legacy of Digital Equipment Corporation" Edgar H. Schein et al
Amazon (Look inside the book at Amazon to read the appendices: "DEC's Technical Legacy," "DEC Manufacturing: Contributions Made and Lessons Learned," "The First Knowledge Organization," "The Strategic Failure," and Gordon Bell's "What Happened?")

- "Digital at Work: Snapshots of the First Thirty-Five Years" Jamie Parker Pearson, ed.
Amazon    Amazon

- "The Ultimate Entrepreneur: The Story of Ken Olsen and Digital Equipment Corporation" Glenn Rifkin and George Harrar

Operated by volunteers. Not officially endorsed or supported. More about the HPAA

Ken Olsen 1988

Ken Olsen, 1988

If formerly a regular, direct U.S. employee of HP or HPE -- or are in the process of leaving -- join the HP Alumni Association. Membership is also open to heirs with HP-related stock and to those receiving company benefits -- spouses, partners, dependents, DEC and EDS retirees. No charge, thanks to HPAA's Supporting Members.

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