May 18, 1964 Electronics
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Electronics,
published 1930 - 1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
When you read about price wars
in the integrated circuit (IC) realm, you naturally think of manufacturers in Asian
countries, since even the products of American companies are made overseas nowadays
(unfortunately). Such was not the case in the early days of ICs when corporations
kept their trade secrets within the shores of their home countries, and government
technology export laws prohibited practices that would have required processing
knowledge and equipment to be located offshore in order to be successful. In the
1960s, it was companies like Fairchild, Clevite, Motorola, Texas Instruments,
IBM, Westinghouse, General Electric, et al, who were in fierce competition to
dominate the semiconductor markets. Lead design engineers and scientists were
offered significant salary and benefit deals to bring their expertise onboard.
Magazine articles of the era are full of reports on the trend. There just were
not many experts at the time.
Clevite Corp., Cleveland, Ohio, has acquired
the assets of Shockley Transistor Corp., Palo Alto, Calif., a subsidiary of Beckman
Instruments, Inc. The Clevite President, W. G. Laffer, said the acquisition will
substantially augment the company's activities in the semiconductor component field.
The Shockley unit, headed by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Dr. William Shockley,
will become part of Clevite's Transistor Div. in Waltham, Mass. (Electronic Design,
April 27, 1960, p. 21).
This sale was the beginning of the end for Shockley Transistor Corp., which was
founded in 1954. Shockley attracted top talent to his company, including Robert
Noyce and Gordon Moore. But this core group left the company in 1957 to found Fairchild
Semiconductor, and Shockley's enterprise was never the same. Clevite was bought
by ITT in 1965, and the Palo Alto plant was closed in 1969."
Electronics Newsletter - Integrated Circuit: Is Price War On?
Has a Price War Broken out in Integrated Circuits?
Some observers said "yes" when the semiconductor
division of the Fairchild Camera & Instrument Corporation slashed prices - from
$25 to $5 apiece for some integrated circuit types.
Robert Noyce, a Fairchild vice president, said: "I think there are too many people
in the business. The time has come to put up or shut up." A competitor, the
Corporation of Palo Alto, California, declared, "The war is on."
The Fairchild action caused consternation at one company that had been planning
a cut of its own. The Semiconductor division of Motorola, Inc., said, "It would
appear that Fairchild has beaten us by about one month." The Motorola spokesman
expected no price war, but he predicted the price of integrated circuits would approach
that of circuits made with discrete components.
But spokesmen for Texas Instruments Incorporated, and the semiconductor division
of the Hughes Aircraft Corporation laid the price cuts to dumping on the market
of Fairchild units that can't meet government specifications.
The price war theory is strengthened by an apparent trend of computer makers
to build their own microcircuits. The International Business Machines Corporation
is making hybrid circuits for its System/360. The semiconductor division of the
Sperry Rand Corporation has been licensed by Fairchild to manufacture integrated
circuits. Other computer manufacturers with in-house capabilities for making integrated
circuits include the Radio Corporation of America, Westinghouse Electric Corporation
and the General Electric Company.
The low-priced "industrial" units according to Fairchild, have the same characteristics
as their military counterparts, except for the range of operating temperature. The
industrial units are for service at 15¢ to 55¢.
Transistors Make TV Color Debut
A nine-inch color television set, the first made with transistor circuits and
an improved Lawrence picture tube, was introduced in Japan on May 6 by the Yaou
Electric Company. The set, designed to meet U. S. requirements, has room for a
Sales will begin in Japan this fall. Initial price is $375, but the company hopes
to cut that to $275 when mass production begins next spring.
The picture tube, which has one gun instead of the conventional three guns, is
supplied by the Kobe Kogyo Corp. It differs from the regular Lawrence tube mainly
in location of a unipotential focus grid close to the color switching grid, between
that grid and the gun. Kobe Kogyo says the focus grid permits low-cost optical fabrication
of the color screen and improves the tube's color purity. The set uses a line sequential
system rather than the dot sequential system of U.S. TV sets. This simplified
set circuitry. For example, the conventional convergence circuits are not needed.
Anybody Want a Used Computer?
The used-computer market is reportedly nose-diving as a result of the wholesale
ordering of new computer models, especially the International Business Machines
Corporation's system/360. The Standard Oil Company (N.J.) is said to have just ordered
21 system/360 computers to replace 27 older computers.
Automaker Goes for Thin Films
The first high-volume application of thin-film circuits may be in the auto industry.
The Delco Radio division of the General Motors Corp. is now operating a pilot production
line and may convert to full-scale production within a year. The initial use of
thin films is expected to be in voltage regulators. But Delco's investment is aimed
at the probable car radio of the future-a microminiaturized AM-FM model with stereophonic
sound and multiplex channels.
The Tables Are Turned
Technograph Printed Electronics, Inc., has been suing about 70 companies, claiming
infringement of basic patents for etched circuits [Electronics, June 7, 1963 p.
24]. Its suit against Admiral Corporation was dismissed April 30 by a U.S. District
Court in Chicago. Now Technograph will pay Admiral royalties on 14 patents for etched
3 Cities May Get Phone TV in June
The Bell System hopes to put its Picturephone into public service next month
in three cities. The equipment transmits television over regular phone lines [Electronics
May 4 1964 p. 29].
Posted June 25, 2019