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Facit AB, a Swedish industrial company founded by a man named Elof Eriksson in 1922, was based in the town of Atvidaberg, Sweden. It was part of a corporation called AB Atvidabergs Industrier, an office products manufacturer. In 1932, Facit brought the very first 10-digit calculator to market. This machine was called the FACIT, and it proved to be both popular and a great success.
AB Atvidabergs Industrier did very well during the next few decades and, by the early part of the 1960s, it had grown to around 8,000 employees and had established subsidiaries in more than 100 countries worldwide. Of all of these subsidiary companies, however, the one that remained the most dominant in the corporation was the first, which was Facit. In 1965, the corporate name was changed to Facit AB, and the following year, Facit bought out its number one Swedish competition, a company called AB Addo.
AB Addo, an engineering concern based in Malmo, Sweden, was founded in 1918 and was also a manufacturer of office machines. Its main products included data processing equipment, adding machines, calculators and accounting machines. It was acquired by and became a subsidiary of the Facit in 1966 and remained such until early in the 1980s.
During the 1960s, while being led by Gunnar Eriksson, Facit focused most intensely on its mechanical calculators, and global expansion continued. Marketing was strong, and both growth and profitability increased significantly. This, however, began to change drastically by the end of the 1960s.
By this time, the performance of electronic calculators was improving rapidly, and they were starting to take a bite out of Facit's huge market share. In 1965, about 4000 digital calculators were sold. The following year the number had climbed to about 25,000 units. By the next year, 1967, digital equipment accounted for 15 percent of global calculator sales.
Japanese companies, notably Sharp Corporation, were drastically changing the landscape with their electronic devices. Facit went into collaboration with Sharp for a couple of years, selling Sharp-made units under the Facit name brand through their worldwide distributor system. However, once Sharp was able to establish its own dealership network, the relationship fell apart.
By 1970, Facit had reached its prime, with approximately 14,000 employees worldwide. In the next few years, as electronic calculators made the mechanical units basically obsolete, the company went under, practically overnight. It had refused to change with the times, was sold to Electrolux in 1973 and again to Ericsson in 1983, and was finally dissolved in 1998.
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