Nathan Morton, who helped turned two computer stores into the CompUSA chain, died Thursday at age 57.
Founded as Soft Warehouse in Dallas in 1984, the stores originally sold to business customers. The company opened its first retail store in April 1985 and adopted the CompUSA name in 1991.
The company wielded extraordinary power by the mid-'90s, but it was slow to react to trends, such as the $1,000 PC. Management was also somewhat bellicose. At a stockholder's meeting in 1999, then CEO James Halpin bellowed in response to one question: "If you don't like the way we are running the company, then sell your stock," according to witnesses.
The chain then rebounded after getting acquired by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu.
The news was first reported by Computer Reseller News, a lifestyle publication that covers the computer sales and service industries.