Matsushita from Osaka and Sony in Tokyo bestrode both Japan’s consumer electronics industry and the world’s, and others like Hitachi, Toshiba, NEC, Fujitsu et al could make every component in their products from silicon to screen.
No one else in the world, although Samsung was later to gain it, had their comprehensive, verticalised manufacturing firepower.
Then along came the horizontal model: – buy best-in-class components from wherever they may come and assemble off-shore.
Bingo! Japan’s consumer industry supremacy was scuppered by a neat idea.
Apple was the great exemplar of the horizontal model.
And then, Apple changed. In 2008 it bought PA Semi and, by 2012 was using in-house designed CPUs.
In 2012 it started designing customised GPUs, based on the Imagination architecture, but customised for Apple.
It has started designing power management ICs and sensors, it may well be designing audio ICs, RF ICs, modems and processors to replace x86s in iMacs,
Suddenly, after a decade and a half, the vertically integrated monoliths are being proved right – but it’s too late for them. They are falling apart at a rate of knots. The government bail-out boys are being called out every month.
There is nothing so powerful, they say, as an idea whose time has come.