February 28, 1976
1. WALKING THE PLANK
Don should listen a little more carefully to the rumor-mongers in this case.
AMI is in trouble with those little things that can drag a company down.the day-
to-day management of orders, deliveries, payments and other grubby details that
get forgotten in concentrating on yields, products and technology. Bernie
Marren has not directed enough attention to that type of management, and is
receiving the scorn of his peers in the industry.
Cox is in similar trouble, enough that a delegation led by one of his
lieutenants approached Adler directly to ask rather specifically for Cox's
removal. Adler put down the revolution and supported Cox, but it is obvious
that Cox is indeed in a high-visibility situation.
2. NATIONAL MAINFRAME
This one is interesting. Mike Krasko reports that National has already
fabricated a prototype with very little fuss and expense.hence, a direct copy.
He also reports that Itel will handle the marketing, which makes more sense than
Amdahl. (Think of it.an "add-on" mainframe processor). Reportedly, the IBM $2«
million central processor price would be undercut to $1 million - $1« million.
All of this story is made even more fascinating by the realization that National
is not particularly well-equipped with high speed circuit technology in the same
sense as that developed by Amdahl, but of course they are presumably playing a
somewhat different game. Amdahl is after improved throughput with modestly
lower costs to boot; National is reportedly to offer substantially lower
Texas Instrument's "paper tiger" announcement of the $19.95 watch did indeed
stop watch module sales dead.
4. WATCH CHIP DESIGN
Many of the industry watch chips were designed by outside designers. Bob Jensen
is another example.
5. BILL ROUTH
Bill is at Interlek starting up watch module assembly, but TI's announcement has
chilled the plans somewhat.
6. NOVUS GENERAL MANAGER
A reshuffle at National's Novus and Semiconductor divisions would not be
unexpected. Joe Van Poppelen is serving his probationary period; if he passes,
he will move up when Floyd Kvamme does --or sooner, if another spot is open.
Synertek is making points with everyone, as evidenced by estimated sales
Much of this has been on custom business of all types: Military, games, coin
machines, microprocessors, memories, etc. The design load has been heavy, and
Synertek is "farming out" work to outside designers.
© 1976 Copyright Integrated Circuit Engineering Corporation