Other World Computing
|Larry O'Connor, Founder and CEO|
Other World Computing (OWC) is an American computer hardware company and online store for Mac upgrades and accessories located at MacSales.com that was founded in 1988.
In 1988, at age 14, Larry O'Connor began LRO Enterprises, a printer ribbon re-inking business, in his family's barn. A year later, LRO Enterprises reorganized into LRO Computer Sales and began selling computer memory chips via America Online. The company moved into its first facility in Woodstock, Illinois and hired its first employees.
In 1992, LRO Computer Sales shifted focus to computers by offering hard drives to its customers. In 1993, LRO Computer Sales incorporated in the state of Illinois under the name New Concepts Development Corporation (NCDC). The company then moved into a 2,500-square-foot office space, which expanded to about 6,500-square feet over the next eight years. In 1994, O'Connor renamed LRO Computers Sales "Other World Computing" (OWC), which operates doing business as NCDC. OWC shipped its first OWC-branded acceleration products in 1995 followed by the introduction of the Mercury G3 ZIF upgrade line in 1999.
In 2003, OWC released a line of external storage products; the Mercury Extreme product line with a G4/1.33 GHz processor upgrade, the fastest Macintosh processor to that date; an extra high-capacity NuPower replacement battery compatible with PowerBook G3 FireWire (2000/Pismo) and PowerBook G3 Lombard (1999/Bronze Keyboard) models; and the OWC Neptune line of external 7200RPM FireWire storage solutions. OWC launched FasterMac.net, a Macintosh-only Internet access service that provided dialup access throughout the U.S. specifically for Macintosh computer users in 2003.
In 2004, the company also began offering an iPod battery replacement program and introduced the miniStack line of drives to complement Apple's Mac mini. In 2006, OWC introduced the first Dual-HD external FireWire drive RAID available up to 1.5 TB and became the first third party company with memory modules and upgrade kits for the Intel-based Mac Pro that met Apple specifications and first to introduce a Quad Interface external hard drive combining FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA connection options in one product – the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Quad Interface.
In January 2007, OWC announced it would be the US distributor of the Axiotron Modbook. OWC also introduced the OWC Mercury Rack Pro line and the OWC Blu-ray internal and external drives. In April 2009, OWC expanded its storage line with the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2, a desktop hardware RAID storage product.
In October 2009, a Vestas V39-500kW wind turbine started generating more electricity than OWC needed to run the facility, view OWC's think green efforts. OWC said it was the first technology manufacturer/distributor in the U.S. to become totally on-site wind powered.
Other World Computing was on the Inc. magazine 5000 "Fastest-Growing Privately Owned Companies" and "Computer and Electronics Top 100" list from 2007 through 2013. In 2010, OWC announced the Mercury Extreme SSD line of 2.5" SATA solid state drives. The OWC Data Doubler, for adding a second internal drive to MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac computers was also introduced as was the OWC Slim eSATA ExpressCard Adapter, which adds an eSATA port to Mac and PC notebooks.
In 2011, sales revenue was reported as $88.3 million with about 137 employees.
OWC adopted solar power as an energy source at its two largest locations in Woodstock and Austin, TX. The Woodstock, IL solar system will generate 265,000kW per year, when combined with power from the wind turbine it brings the Woodstock headquarters’ total alternative power generation capacity to over one million kilowatts. It also means that over the course of a year, OWC produces more power than it consumes.
A similar but smaller array is on the roof of OWC's Austin,TX building. Energized at the beginning of 2014, 160 solar panels generate approximately one-third of the power consumed by the three-story building, including the majority of power that is consumed by OWC.
OWC markets upgrade kits for iMac, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, Mac mini, MacBook and Mac Pro. The Data-Doubler installation kit allows customers to add a second 2.5" SATA hard disk drive or solid state drive to the optical drive bay of a Mac mini, MacBook, or MacBook Pro. The optical drive can then be repurposed as an external drive. OWC designs and manufactures solid state drives. MaxRAM is a line of memory upgrades for Apple products.
- "Founder Bio". Company web site. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- "OWC Timeline". Company web site. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- John F. Braun (January 10, 2007). "Axiotron and OWC Unveil ModBook, the First Mac Tablet". The Mac Observer. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Raman Chadha (May 13, 2011). "Back on the Radar: Other World Computing and going green". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Chris Foresman (October 25, 2011). "Exploring Other World Computing's super-green headquarters". ars technical. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- "Other World Computing". Company Profile. Inc. magazine. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Monica Ginsburg (June 4, 2012). "Fast Fifty No. 47: Other World Computing Inc". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved November 5, 2013.