Electronic Yarns

When The Prince Of Wales Met Akio Morita.

45 years ago The Prince of Wales met Akio Morita at the British Embassy in Tokyo, He asked Morita if, were Sony ever to build a factory in Europe, he would “remember my Wales.” The boss of Sony UK, Hiroshi Okochi, was, in fact, already scouting around for a UK…

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Happy Days

A decade ago, in the happy days before the 2008/9 crash, we were basking in a kind of benign economic glow unaware of the impending storm. In 2005, Lord Digby Jones (at that time Sir Digby) told me: “The UK has the most successful economy in the world and…

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The Siren Song

Competing in the SRAM-based FPGA industry has been a lure for many shipwrecks. Actel, which did anti-fuse and flash FPGA, never did SRAM FPGA but it nearly did. “I had my own SRAM FPGA – we thought we’d done a pretty good job,” recalls John East who was…

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When Europe Hit The Failure Button

Seven years ago, in Athens, leading semiconductor men were talking about the end of Europe’s independent process technology capability. Philips ST and Motorola Semiconductor had developed basic CMOS technology at Crolles for 20 years. In Philippe Geyres, CEO of Oberthur Card Systems, who was a corporate and vice-president…

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Intel's Marketing Wiz

The founders of Intel are usually cited as Noyce, Moore and Grove with Fairchild marketing wiz Bob Graham omitted…

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Ignorance Is Bliss

Dick Skipworth founded Memec and drove it to become the third largest distributor in the world. In the 1970s he devised a novel formula for a distie: Once a group had more than half a dozen product lines, the Memec business model recognised that it had reached the limit of…

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Flopnik

Sputnik, launched in October 1957, gave the whole world a shock but no country was more shocked than America which proposed to match the feat in December 1957…

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The Unnerving Laureate

In the superb biography of Gordon Moore by Arnold  Thackray, David Brock and Rachel Jones, Moore expresses a trenchant  view on the double Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling who taught Moore at Caltech…

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Leadership

Transistors were not exactly welcomed by many engineers and, in the early 50s, IBM engineers were no exception…

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Managing A Genius

The greatest IC designer in the industry’s history is generally acknowledged to be Bob Widlar 

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Gratitude

After eight years as CEO and ten years as Chairman, Gordon Moore became Chairman Emeritus of Intel in 1997 in which role he attended board meetings. The thorough new biography of Moore, Moore’s Law by Arnold Thackray, David Brock and Rachel Jones, records that, in 2006, Craig Barrett and…

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Why The Planar Process Happened

In the early days of the semiconductor industry, yields were terrible. Things improved a bit with the mesa transistor but what really made the difference was the planar process…

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