Trimble is an unsung hero of the technology industry. It is unusual, to say the least, for a company to be over 30 years old, to be publicly listed (on NASDAQ), to have operations in over 140 countries, to have revenues of $2bn and yet to be relatively unknown.
Trimble was founded in 1978 by three ex-Hewlett Packard employees (one of whom was Charlie Trimble) who initially focused on developing positioning and navigation products. In particular, the company was a pioneer in the development of GPS (global positioning satellite) capabilities and, in 1984, the company introduced the world’s first commercial scientific-research and geodetic-survey products based on GPS, for oil-drilling teams on offshore platforms.
Since then the company has expanded in a number of different directions (it has grown significantly through acquisition as well as organically) but GPS has remained a core component of its offerings. Moreover, a significant part of Trimble’s revenues has always been derived from the manufacture of GPS and other telemetric equipment, and this is one reason why the Trimble brand is not widely known outside its core markets. After all, your mobile phone has GPS capability: how often do you stop to wonder who enabled that?