The First Company Set Up To Make ICs

In 1961, four years after Fairchild Semiconductor was founded, Sherman Fairchild, the son of an IBM co-founder who owned Fairchild Semiconductor’s parent company, decided on that year’s bonuses.

Perhaps because of his East Coast cultural background which valued hierarchy, Fairchild only handed out the bonuses to the eight guys – the ‘Traitorous Eight’ who had left Shockley Semiconductor to co-found Fairchild.

Others who had contributed mightily to the success of Fairchild were outraged that their work was not recognised.

So they did what Silicon Valley does best – walked out and started their own show.

In this case it was Signetics a name derived from Signal Network Electronics.

The four founders of Signetics – Dave Allison, David James, Mark Weisenstein and Lionrl Kattner – believed that ICs were the future of the industry while Fairchild was sticking to discrete transistors in the belief that making ICs would be to compete with its customers.

So Signetics was the first company set up specifically to make ICs.

It was backed by Lehman Bros and was bought by Philips in 1975.

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