May 15, 1976
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.
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.
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