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For other uses, see Zeo.
ZEOS International, Ltd.
Type Defunct
Founded 1981
Headquarters Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Key people Gregory E. Herrick, Founder and CEO
Industry Computer hardware
Products Desktops
Notebooks
Peripherals
Website MPC Corporation

ZEOS [ZEOS International, Ltd.] was a PC manufacturer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Originally based in New Brighton, Minnesota and founded by Gregory E. Herrick, the company incorporated in Minnesota in 1981.[1][2] Prior to manufacturing PCs, the company was called NPC Electronics. NPC was a contract assembly business best known for developing a transmitter device called Radio Realty. Marketed primarily to real estate brokers, this product enabled prospective home buyers to tune in and listen to prerecorded information about a property listing while parked in front of the dwelling. Radio Realty was divested in the early 1980s as NPC started developing, manufacturing, and selling PCs under the ZEOS name. The company went public in mid-1985 by self-underwriting, and officially changed its name from NPC Electronics to ZEOS International.

The company's first PC related product was known as "PC Speeder," a device designed to increase the clock speed (and thereby the performance) of the 8086 processor. The company then began work engineering a motherboard to retrofit the soon-to-be-introduced Intel 386 processor on their existing 286 platform.

The company sold its first PC in November, 1987 with its first ad in Computer Shopper. Rapid sales and growth led ZEOS to become Fortune's fastest growing public company in America in 1991. ZEOS marketed its products primarily through mail order, but also partnered with and distributed PCs to Sam's Club stores. ZEOS also had two retail outlet stores, located in Arden Hills, MN, and Golden Valley, MN, where refurbished and customer-returned hardware was resold often at substantial discounts.

During the peak of its desktop business, ZEOS sold 386- and 486-based systems under the ZEOS and Discovery brand names using various model names including Ambra, Millennium and others. In the mid- 1990s, it sold both Pentium-based desktops, branded Pantera, and laptops branded Freestyle and Meridian. The company also marketed subnotebooks branded Contenda (both 386SL-, 486SL-based) and ZEOS Pocket PC (8086-compatible palmtop, using the NEC V30 processor).

The ZEOS 386SX was once featured on the cover of PC Magazine, rated as Editor's Choice in its January 30, 1990 issue.

Late generations of ZEOS motherboards models were code-named with a zoological theme. Motherboards based on early 486 designs went by classes of birds such as Duck, Goose, Gosling, and Martin. Later 486 and Pentium motherboards used families of serpents (i.e. snakes), such as Rattler, Python, Cobra, Coral, and Boa.

Contents

Industry Firsts

ZEOS was a leader in numerous industry-shaping developments. Among other notable firsts, ZEOS was the first computer company to offer 24/7 toll-free technical support.

The company was also first to capitalize on e-commerce. Subscribers of the Prodigy online service could browse and order ZEOS PCs long before the world-wide web had any significant, much less commercial, presence.

In later years, the company was first to market pre-configured, ready-to-ship PCs under a campaign called "Computers Now", promising immediate (less than 24 hour) delivery nationwide. This initiative was successfully achieved through direct marketing.

Merger with Micron Technologies

In 1996, ZEOS acquired two business units of Boise, Idaho-based Micron Technologies: Micron Computer, Inc., and Micron Custom Manufacturing Services, Inc. in a reverse takeover that resulted in Micron Technologies taking controlling interest in ZEOS. The ZEOS brand was quickly phased out, and the combined company, known as Micron Electronics Inc., began trading under the symbol MUEI. The company has been sold twice since the original Micron/ZEOS transaction, and the final instance of the company, MPC Corporation, ceased business operations on December 31, 2008.

Zeos Pocket PC (PPC)

Manufactured around 1991–92 and selling for $595, this palmtop ran MS-DOS 5.0 and was bundled with Microsoft Works and RacePen. Surprisingly small and lightweight at the time, the dimensions were 4.5" × 9.7" × 1.0" and weighed approximately 1.3 lb (0.59 kg). The 640x200 monochrome LCD screen was about 2.75" × 7" and not backlit. The keyboard was 9" wide (compared to 11" for a standard keyboard) making typing slightly tedious for many people. The unit featured two PCMCIA card slots, a serial and parallel port on the rear used proprietary mini-connectors and custom cables, which were included. The unit powered on instantly using two standard AA batteries and one lithium backup battery. It was manufactured in Taiwan and sold mail-order.

References

ZEOS

  1. ^ Charles Babbage Institute: The Computing Industry in Minnesota > A-B
  2. ^ INTERLAND INC /MN/ - INLD Proxy Statement (definitive) (DEF 14A) PROPOSAL ONE:







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