Northgate Computers

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A circa 1989 model Northgate OmniKey/102.
A circa 1993 model Northgate OmniKey/ULTRA-T.

Northgate Computer Systems, Inc., based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, United States, was a mail-order personal computer company, founded in 1987 by Arthur Lazere.[1]

The 1990s were a golden era for mail-order PC business. Consumers were fed up with high prices for IBM, Compaq and other brand-name PCs sold through dealers so they opted to purchase their computers from a catalog. This was a revolutionary idea at the time, because people wouldn't be able to see or touch their computer before buying it. Aside from Dell and Gateway, popular brands of mail-order PCs were Northgate and Zeos.

The company was known for its quality systems and keyboards; in particular, its line of OmniKey keyboards was highly praised.[1] The keyboards were particularly valued for their tactile response and durability, and along with IBM's Model M PC keyboards, were considered some of the best in the industry.[2] As such, the company's keyboards were often purchased by users of other manufacturers' PCs.

  • 1987 founded by Arthur Lazere[3]
  • 1990 Announced 486 systems using IBM's Micro Channel architecture and merger talks with CPT.[4]
  • 1992 Discussed a merger with Everex Systems but these talks ended and a 51% stake was bought by investor group Marjac Investments.[5]
  • August 1994 A chapter 7 petition was filed against the company by creditors.
  • September 1994 The company filed for a conversion to a chapter 11 reorganization plan.[6] Mylex was owed $4.6 million, $113,000 was expected to be paid from liquidation from Northgate's inventories.[7] The landlord of their Eden Prairie building also canceled their lease and they were planning to move to Minneapolis.[8]
  • December 22, 1995 Announced a reorganization plan with its creditors which paid 19 cents on the dollar to cover $16 million in unsecured debts. The funding would be from a percentage of computer sales up to a maximum of $3.75 million.[9]
  • 1997 Northgate was purchased by Lan Plus.[10][11]
  • October 2000 Lan Plus begins merger with Mcglen Internet Group.[12]
  • April 16, 2001 Mcglen and Lan Plus announces that the merged company will be operating under the Northgate name.[10][13]
  • September 10, 2001 Lan Plus and Mcglen expect to complete the merger by October under the name Northgate Innovations with Andy Teng as chairman and CEO.[14] However the completion of the merger wasn't announced until March.[15]
  • September 20, 2002 Announced a "Volunteer Training Program" with local technical schools to provide real-world computer manufacturing experience.[16] Their principal executive offices are now in the city of Industry, California.[17]
  • 2003 Announced a trial with 7-Eleven to sell Northgate Computer branded PCs through their stores.[18]
  • 2004 Name changed to Digital Lifestyles Group to focus on the "teen computing and digital lifestyle" market with a new "hip-e" brand.[19]
  • 2005 On April 25 an announcement on their web site stated "Northgate Computers will close its operations to all customers. Northgate will no longer supply any type of warranty services inclusive of technical phone support."[20][21]

After Northgate went out of business, Creative Vision Technologies picked up the line of keyboards, marketing them under the Avant brand.[22] However, CVT was acquired by Ideal System Solutions in 2011 and the product is no longer listed.[23]


  1. ^ a b Definition of: Northgate. PC Magazine Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ Low End Mac Avant Prime: Rebirth of the Legendary Northgate OmniKey Keyboard
  3. ^ PC Magazine Encyclopedia Definition of: Northgate
  4. ^ InfoWorld Jan 8, 1990 via Google Books Northgate to Offer 486 With MCA
  5. ^ The New York Times Company News
  9. ^ Saint Paul Pioneer Press via HighBeam Research Reorganization Plan Gives Minnesota's Northgate Computer Systems 2nd Chance
  10. ^ a b Business Wire via Mcglen and Lan Plus Announce New Company Name -- Northgate
  11. ^ The Welch Company Diary for January 5, 2001 Lighton has 100 keyboards; Lan Plus has Omni Key Keyboards
  12. ^ Business Wire Sept. 10, 2001 via The Free Library by Farlex Mcglen Announces Continued Purchases of Its Stock by Lan Plus CEO
  13. ^ Business Wire Aug. 16, 2001 via The Free Library by Farlex Lan Plus Announces Worldwide Launch of First AMD Athlon Processor-Based Integra All-in-One; Industry Shows Support in Launching New PC and Entertainment Device
  14. ^ Mcglen Announces Continued Purchases of Its Stock by Lan Plus CEO
  15. ^ Business Wire March 15, 2002 via The Free Library by Farlex Mcglen Internet Group, Inc. and Lan Plus Corporation Complete Merger; New Company to be Named Northgate Innovations, Inc.
  16. ^ PRNewswire via The Free Library by Farlex Northgate Innovations Teams With Local Technical Schools to Provide Real World Training and Experience
  17. ^ EDGAR Online FORM 10-K/A For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2002
  18. ^ BNET Northgate Innovations and 7-Eleven Inc. Announce News Release Clarification
  19. ^ PR Newswire Association Northgate Innovations Changes Name to Digital Lifestyles Group to Reflect New Vision, Strategy And Product Line
  20. ^ Jigsaw Northgate Innovations Company Information and Contacts
  21. ^ akama Northgate Innovations, Inc.
  22. ^ October 15, 2005 - Avant keyboards Let's Talk Computers
  23. ^ Fran Howard (February 25, 2013), Tracking The Pulse Of Minority-Owned Businesses - Woman With a Plan, Ideal System Solutions Twin Cities Business