In the very beginning
Two years earlier, in 1963, the first computers that used microchips were introduced. At the time, computers were slowly and steadily entering business, engineering and science. Computing time was often rented from one of the few owners of a computer. If the rare computer was uncomfortably far away, one just penciled the calculations on paper and posted these to a computation center and waited for the postman to bring the results.
However cumbersome the process, the need for computers was clear. In the mid-1960s, an IBM salesman in Finland faced a challenge: Selling computers was not easy because, as we all know, you cannot use a computer without software. And those days, there was no ready-made software on the market for engineering offices so in case you wanted to actually use your precious computer, you needed to create your own software first.
Reino Heinonen, that salesman, got an idea: Why not start a company offering software for engineering offices? In June 1965, five engineering offices met in order to start a company that would develop and provide software and related services for them. Soon the company, named Tekla, started to offer its services also to others besides the five shareholder companies.
Charlie Trimble and two others from Hewlett-Packard founded Trimble in 1978 above the old Los Altos theatre in Silicon Valley. This happened to be the same year when the first GPS satellite, the NavStar, was launched. Trimble focused on developing positioning and navigation products. The founders' goal was to develop the immature GPS technology that Trimble had purchased from Hewlett-Packard.Trimble pushed the rapid development of commercial and consumer applications, taking GPS from its exclusively military applications and applying it to traditional markets such as surveying and navigation, which would change these markets.
Software, now including Tekla solutions, creates a significant portion of Trimble's revenue. The technology continues evolving.