AC #600 Integrated Circuit Engineering Collection Series 16

February 28, 1976   Description:

    A series of 1976 reviews of  Don Hoefler's Microelectronics News

    ICE Collection - Project File 10085 - March 24, 1976 - review of :

MICROELECTRONICS NEWSLETTER
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 hardware costs.

3. WATCHES
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.

7. SYNERTEK
Synertek is making points with everyone, as evidenced by estimated sales figures:
1974- Startup
1975- $4M-$6M
1976- >$10M
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


Hoefler's Microelectronics News, February 28, 1976


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