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Wang Laboratories

Definition - What does Wang Laboratories mean?

Wang Laboratories was founded in 1951 by Dr. An Wang and Dr. G.Y. Chu, and was a global provider of computer-based processing systems such as data, image, voice and text processing systems as well as networking products. The company also provided customer service, support, training and consulting services. The company was the first to produce and is most well known for magnetic core memory devices, which became a global standard component of computers for the next twenty years after its introduction in the early late 1940s.

Techopedia explains Wang Laboratories

Wang Laboratories primarily sold magnetic core memories and provided contractual services to perform research and development for other companies. For example, IBM contracted Wang Laboratories to develop a procedure for using magnetic cores to perform memory functions for IBM's own electronic calculating machines. Wang Labs was later granted a patent on the core weeks after it was sold to IBM in 1956. In the following years, Wang proposed that IBM had stimulated a challenge to the patent claim in order to hasten a sale, which eventually occurred. Following the patent sale to IBM, Wang Labs' focus gradually began to shift from consulting to development and sales of its own products.

An Wang created a line of electronic calculators which he targeted for the scientific market. He also began to introduce business application systems for auto sales loan calculations. He then developed LINASEC, a semiautomatic, justifying typesetter. Thus led to the formation of word processing systems in 1971.

An Wang retired in 1982 and died in 1990. Just two years after his death, the standalone word processing systems market collapsed due to the introduction of the personal computer. With the hope of reviving the company, Wang Laboratories released Wang Office Assistant, an Intel-based word processor. However PCs had already taken over the market with their flexibility of combining word processors with other programs, which bested specific task machines.

The firm filed for bankruptcy protection on August 18th, 1992 and emerged from bankruptcy on September 20th, 1993. Under the leadership of CEO Joe Tucci, the name was changed to Wang Global. It was then acquired by Getronics in 2005.

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