Fable: When Fortune Favoured The Bold

Over 40 years ago there was a semiconductor company which was second-rate in a country which had several first-rate semiconductor companies.

The second-rate company sent a young engineer to meet ‘The Rocket’ – the nickname of the conutry’s most famous high-tech industrialist who worked at a renowned systems house.

The Rocket told the young engineer to get his company to build CMOS.


 The company struggled to make CMOS chips. “The yield was very low”, said the young engineer about the early efforts.


But gradually the company mastered the art and, by the mid-80s, had the finest CMOS process in the world at the very time the world was turning away from NMOS to CMOS.


The company became, and remained to this day, a top ten semiconductor company, and the young engineer became its most famous CEO.


MORAL: Be Bold.



  1. Thanks for that Mike but the point of the Fable was that, because Tsuyoshi Kawanishi got Toshiba to invest in a digital CMOS process several years before anyone else thought it would be the mainstream process for memories, processors and standard logic, they got ahead of everyone else and, for half a year or so, were the only company supplying leading edge CMOS 1Mbit DRAM. They really cleaned up and that success was the making of Toshiba’s semiconductor division which, before then, was a bit of an also-ran in the Japanese semi industry

  2. Not quite true David. For some reason Intel saw their early CMOS as the ideal analogue process and so used it for their PCM voice codecs long before they used it for processors.

  3. Be Bold, penang

  4. Intel was pretty late to CMOS, David Pashley, they licensed the x86 designs to Harris for CMOS versions. Intel was still making NMOS DRAM when it exited that market

  5. Tosh.
    I think Intel arguably already had the finest CMOS process by that time, but didn’t they decide there was no future in DRAMs?

  6. … and the moral story is ?

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