You might have said “National Semiconductor” for the last time. On Wednesday, TI’s acquisition of National cleared regulatory review and today the deal completes. If previous practice for TI acquisitions is followed the acquiree’s name will be dropped.
Founded in 1959 by a group of Sperry Rand engineers, National got its place in the sun when Peter Sprague took financial control in 1965.
In 1965, Sprague tempted the legendary analogue IC designer Bob Widlar to National and, two years later he persuaded another industry legend, Charlie Sporck, to leave Fairchild, where he was in charge of manufacturing, to be National’s CEO.
National became the No.1 player in analogue and remained so for three decades.
Within ten years of taking over, Sporck had propelled National into the top ten of worldwide semiconductor companies where it remained for nearly 20 years.
National constantly miffed its analogue people by fiddling around with digital ICs diverting profits from the lucrative linear flow.
If National had looked after Widlar better, he wouldn’t have gone off with Bob Dobkin and Bob Swanson to found Linear Technology Corporation in 1981.
Sporck left in 1991, and subsequent CEOs never found the growth ingredient. By 1996, National was out of the top ten.