TitleCarrico, William Jr. oral history
|Brock, David C., Interviewer|
|Carrico, William Jr., Interviewee|
|Weber, Marc, Interviewer|
PublisherComputer History Museum
Place of PublicationMountain View, CA
DescriptionWilliam “Bill” Carrico, Jr. is a significant figure in commercial computer networking, co-founding the early internetworking company Bridge Communications (Bridge) with Judith “Judy” Estrin. In this oral history, David Brock and Marc Weber talk to Carrico about his upbringing, his experience in the semiconductor and computing industries, and the founding and sale of Bridge.
Born in 1950, Carrico first recounts growing up in Billings, Montana, and Sunnyvale, California, and the development of his passion for electrical engineering. He then discusses his education at De Anza Junior College and Santa Clara University, from which he graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering, as well as his summer jobs as a technician at Fairchild Semiconductors and Orion Products.
Carrico recalls the cultural and political climate of late-1960 and early-1970s San Francisco and Silicon Valley, as well as its difficult job market, and his resulting turn to management-oriented work as a product marketing engineer at Fairchild Semiconductors following his graduation in 1972. He charts his rise in that company, and his transition to a strategic planning position and later a management position at Zilog, where he worked to develop ZNet, a microcomputer network and the first LAN service.
Carrico recounts the co-founding of Bridge Communications with Estrin in 1981, including its initial goal of interconnecting disparate and distant networks. He describes its rapid growth as an Ethernet-based internetworking system used by research labs, hospitals, banks, and universities, among others, as well as its interactions with business competitors Ungermann-Bass and Sytek. Carrico discusses Bridge’s funding rounds, its IPO in 1985 and its merger with 3Com in 1987. The oral history concludes with the networking industry’s changes and 3Com’s business challenges, as well as Carrico’s own departure from 3Com.