Digital Equipment Corporation was a pioneering American company in the computer industry. It is often referred to within the computing industry as DEC. (This acronym was frequently officially used by Digital itself, but the official name was always DIGITAL.) Its PDP and VAX products were arguably the most popular minicomputers for the scientific and engineering communities during the 1970s and 1980s. DEC was acquired by Compaq in June 1998, which subsequently merged with Hewlett-Packard in May 2002. As of 2007 its product lines were still produced under the HP name. From 1957 until 1992 its headquarters was in an old woolen mill in Maynard, Massachusetts.
Digital supported the ANSI standards, especially the ASCII character set, which survives in Unicode and the ISO 8859 character set family. Digital's own Multinational Character Set also had a large influence on ISO 8859-1 (Latin-1) and, by extension, Unicode.
The first versions of the C programming language and the UNIX operating system ran on Digital's PDP series of computers (first on a PDP-7, then the PDP-11's), which were among the first commercially viable minicomputers, although for several years Digital itself did not encourage the use of Unix.
Work on the first hard-disk-based MP3-player, the Personal Jukebox, started at the DEC Systems Research Center. (The project was started about a month before the merger into Compaq was completed.)
PDA concepts created in DEC's Western Research Lab, originally called Itsy, were incorporated into The iPaq which was developed as a successor to Compaq's own PDA, the Aero, originally developed to showcase WindowsCE using display and other technology from Nintendo color GameBoy.