AC #600 Integrated Circuit Engineering Collection Series 16

May 15, 1976   Description:

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

    ICE Collection - Project File 10085 - review of :

MICROELECTRONICS NEWSLETTER
May 15, 1976

1. COMMODORE
Commodore is the only really large calculator supplier which does not have in- house capabilities. Commodore sells about one million calculators per year against the majors -- Texas Instruments, National and Rockwell. Jack Tramiel, president of Commodore has a reputation as one of the most "penny-pinching" buyers in the electronics business.

2. AMERICAN MICROSYSTEMS
American Microsystems has been successful at custom MOS/LSI, the basis of their business. AMI has not been able to develop a consistent line of standard products, and is not well situated to do so. AMI has well over one thousand sole source custom designs which will provide them with a base business for many years to come. Probably the best management decision is to run with their custom business and not try to expand as a heavy supplier of consumer products against formidable competition from National, Texas Instruments, Rockwell, and others, although it is probably worthwhile to protect its position in the microcomputer market with the 6800 microprocessor. AMI was 63% custom in 1975.

3. SALE Of EQUIPMENT AND INTEGRATED CIRCUITS BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN
Visitors to Russia report that most of the integrated circuits in Russia are manufactured by Texas Instruments and most of the communication equipment is manufactured by Collins Radio. Sales are made through distributors in Finland, Sweden, and Italy. Bucey of TI, who has been the leader in anti-Iron Curtain technology sales, heads up the company that does the most dollar-volume.

4. FAIRCHILD VIDEO GAMES
Fairchild has put in a lot of effort in the video games, and probably is in a position to score providing they clean up their MOS production facilities so that they can be economically competitive. The Exitron facility may help here.

5. INTERSIL
It's entirely possible that Intersil might become attractive to investors, particularly if they are able to get a competent new president. They have too wide a product line with a good deal of capability in a wide variety of integrated circuit products. One guess for the presidency of Intersil is Louay Sharif, now head of Nitron. Louay's problem is that his aggressive approach has been stifled by the McDonnell bureaucracy, and he is relatively unknown in the Bay area clique.

6. ZILOG
Zilog is coming on strong with good ideas on the 8080, and Mostek's speculative decision is probably a good one. There is some truth to Mostek IS contention that the 8080 and the F-8 don't overlap all market areas, but the F-8 does seem to be in some trouble. Fairchild is designing still another version to dampen criticism of some of the architectural shortcomings.

7. WESTERN DIGITAL
Western Digital was unable, between Emerson and Digital Equipment Corporation and other stockholders, to agree on a new president, and it looks like they've started downhill. It also appears that the temporary management is not willing to listen to any advice from the industry. Therefore, a continuing degradation of the situation can be expected.

© 1976 Copyright Integrated Circuit Engineering Corporation


Hoefler's Microelectronics News, May 15, 1976


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