, originally known as Hardware Computing Canada
), was founded by Mac Brown
, a former Sun service technician
. It's first big break was as a Sun hardware reseller
and supplier for Newbridge
in the early 1990s. Besides reselling Sun hardware, HCC also resold Axil
) Sun clone
The company was doing fine, but somehow it was decided it should manufacture it's own line of computers, instead of just reselling. Enter Corel, a fellow Ottawa based company, who was developing a StrongARM based Linux computer, but wasn't sure what to do with it. The Corel Computer (Netwinder) division was bought by HCC in 1999 for $5M of stock.
With the dot com boom still raging, HCC decided to pull out all the stops. It renamed itself to rebel.com, paying through the nose for the rebel.com domain name. It also acquired rights for James Dean image. The celebration party at the Hard Rock Cafe in Ottawa, which originally had a $10k budget, ended up costing over $50k after leaving the bar open all night, a move typical of Mac Brown's extravagant lifestyle.
Rebel had ramped up manufacturing and had a high inventory just as the dot com bubble was bursting and Linux fever was waning. Plans to raise capital by going public had to be scraped. The company had too much debt, too many Netwinders, and demand far below what was forecast in happier times. This, in combination with Brown's relucatance to implement the restructing that it's creditors were demanding, spelt disaster. Rebel started to look for deals to keep it afloat. Xwave was approached to buy the services unit in early 2001, but they pulled out after examining the books.
Finally a ray of hope emerged in the form of a deal with Fuji Xerox. A deal was penned for the Netwinder division to be spun off and for Fuji Xerox to license and rebrand Netwinders. Meanwhile, key people were leaving in droves, and 20% of the staff was laid off. Finally, Fuji Xerox pulled out and Rebel's fate was sealed. In July of 2001 the company ceased operations.