追溯历史，成立于1930年的德州仪器已过耄耋之年。第一次世界大战推动了全球对石油的需求，依托美国得克萨斯州得天独厚的石油资源。1930年，J·克莱伦斯·卡彻（J. Clarence Karcher）和尤金·麦克德莫特（Eugene McDermott）一起在得克萨斯州创建了一个做地质勘探的“地球物理业务公司”（GSI），这便是德州仪器的前身。
更名后的德州仪器在半导体领域火力全开。1952年，德州仪器从西部电子公司那里以25000美元的价格购买了生产晶体管的专利证书，开始制造和销售晶体管。随后，原本在贝尔实验室工作的戈登·K·蒂尔（Gordon K. Teal）看到广告后回到了故乡得克萨斯，在德州仪器担任研究主任，并于1954年2月研制出第一个商用的硅晶体管。
1958 年，德州仪器入职了一位名为杰克·基尔比（Jack Kilby）的工程师，而他，正是集成电路的发明者。
1970年，计算机制造商Computer Terminal Corp.（CTC）公司在设计最早的终端用户计算机Datapoint 2200时，希望英特尔能够采取单一芯片，使计算机体积更小、散热效果更好。
CTC不得已找到德仪，提出了相同的要求。随后在1970年4月左右，德仪开始为CTC开发单芯片CPU，该设计于次年完成，被称为TMX 1795（X为“experimental”）。1971年3月，TMX 1795被《商业周刊（Business Week）》称为“LSI（大规模集成）的里程碑”。
1971年6月，德仪发起了针对TMC 1795的媒体宣传活动，描述了这种“芯片上的中央处理器”将如何使新的Datapoint 2200“成为一台功能强大的计算机，具有原先无法提供的功能”。但是，这并没有发生。经测试发现，TMX 1795芯片有很多问题，比如它不能承受超过50mV的电压波动、也不能独立完成运算；它的架构也不合理，导致其尺寸过大，生产成本较高。
而此时CTC已经自主完成了Datapoint 2200的升级，没有采用微处理器方案，运行速度和散热问题也都得到了很好的解决。TMX 1795项目就此终止。
2007年，TI收购Integrated Circuit Designs（ICD）；
Recalling his career at Texas Instruments, Zhang Zhongmou lamented: “from the age of 33 to 52, there were only 3000 employees in public institutions at the beginning and then 40, 000. I gave Texas Instruments all my golden age, but I learned a lot.”
Zhang Zhongmou works in Texas Instruments. Source: semiwiki
Zhang Rujing, founder of SMIC, also has an inextricable bond with Texas Instruments. In 1977, 29-year-old Zhang Rujing just joined Texas Instruments and became one of Zhang Zhongmou’s 40,000 subordinates. In Texas Instruments, which is full of foreigners, Zhang Zhongmou takes good care of Zhang Rujing. The two well-connected superiors and subordinates have worked in Deyi together for nearly ten years. Zhang Rujing has been working in Texas Instruments for 20 years, and has successively participated in the construction of many wafer plants in the United States, Japan, Singapore, and so on. His rich experience in building factories has laid the foundation for his later return to China to build factories.
In fact, this company is known as the “Whampoa military Academy of the semiconductor industry” and has trained big names in semiconductor circles such as Wei Zhe-Jia, president of TSMC, and Jiang Shangyi, former co-operating director of TSMC.
So, what kind of company is Texas Instruments? What are the ups and downs of its growth story?
Arms dealers make the world’s first integrated circuit “out of business”.
Looking back in history, Texas Instruments, founded in 1930, is over 80 years old. World War I promoted the global demand for oil, relying on the unique oil resources of Texas in the United States. In 1930, J Clarence Clarence Karcher and Eugene McDermott founded a geological exploration company called GSI in Texas, which was the predecessor of Texas Instruments.
At first, GSI’s main business was to provide geological exploration for the oil industry, but due to the increase in oil production, the oil industry experienced a recession in which supply exceeded demand, and during World War II, GSI began to expand its business to produce defense electronics for the U.S. Army and Navy. Based on the geological exploration technology originally developed in the petroleum industry, Texas Instruments began to enter the field of national defense electronics with submarine detection equipment since 1942. Then the related orders soared and the business rose rapidly.
1951 is an important year to determine the future development direction of GSI. This year, the company’s LathampterM division quickly overtook GSI’s geography division, and the company was renamed “General Instruments” (General Instrument). In the same year, it was renamed Texas Instruments again, and is still in use today. GSI, on the other hand, became a subsidiary of Texas Instruments until it was sold to Halliberto in 1988.
The renamed Texas Instruments is full of firepower in the semiconductor field. In 1952, Texas Instruments bought a patent for the production of transistors from Western Electronics for $25000 and began to manufacture and sell transistors. Then Gordon K. Teal, who originally worked at Bell Labs, saw the ad and returned to his hometown of Texas as research director at Texas Instruments, where he developed the first commercial silicon transistor in February 1954.
In 1958, Texas Instruments hired an engineer named Jack Kilby (Jack Kilby), the inventor of integrated circuits.
Jack Kilby (1923-2005)
At that time, Jack couldn’t “save” enough of the company’s two-week traditional vacation because of his new job. While others were on vacation, Jack began to study the new process he was interested in and finally developed the world’s first integrated circuit on September 12, 1958. The invention of integrated circuits has fundamentally changed the semiconductor industry and laid a solid foundation for all modern electronic components. Jack Kilby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his outstanding contribution to the invention of integrated circuits.
In addition, Texas Instruments invented the handheld computer in 1967. In 1982, Texas Instruments released the world’s first single-chip digital signal processor DSP, and then became the leader in this field.
So far, Texas Instruments has more than 100, 000 products, including processors, microcontrollers, wireless, and ADC/DAC, which can meet the needs of customers in all directions.
Missed success in the field of mobile chips
After several fierce battles in the smartphone chip market, there are only six giants on the list: MediaTek, Qualcomm, Apple, Ziguang Zhanrui, Samsung and Huawei Haisi. Some are happy and some are frustrated, and most of the stories of those who are out have been sealed in history.
Uncovering the development history of smartphone chips, we found that Texas Instruments, the current analog IC giant, also expanded its business to computer microprocessors and mobile phone chips, and once dominated the mobile phone chip market. Nowadays, it is difficult for mobile chip manufacturers to find virtue, so how did Deyi miss success and finally be out in the field of microprocessors and mobile chips?
Most engineers’ impressions of the microprocessing revolution began with Intel’s 4-digit 4004 in 1971, followed by the company’s 8-bit 8008 chip. But in fact, before Intel 8008, Deyi launched an 8-bit processor.
In 1970, when computer manufacturer Computer Terminal Corp. (CTC) designed the earliest end-user computer, the Datapoint 2200, it hoped that Intel would adopt a single chip to make the computer smaller and better heat dissipation.
So Intel 4004 chip came into being and became the first microprocessor in the world. But because Intel didn’t pay attention to the 4004 chip at first, the 4004 project was delayed for six months in the process of research and development.
Figure: 4004bot 2300 transistors
Picture: Intel 4-bit 4004 chip
Figure: 8008th 3098 transistors
CTC had no choice but to find Deyi and put forward the same request. Then, around April 1970, Deyi began to develop a single chip CPU for CTC, which was completed the following year and was called TMX 1795 (X for “experimental”). In March 1971, TMX 1795 was called “a milestone in LSI” by Business week (Business Week).
Figure: TMX 1795th 3078 transistors
In June 1971, Deyi launched a media campaign for TMC 1795, describing how this “CPU on chip” would make the new Datapoint 2200 “a powerful computer with functions that could not be provided before”. However, this did not happen. After testing, it is found that the TMX 1795 chip has many problems, such as it can not withstand voltage fluctuations higher than 50mV, nor can it complete the operation independently; its structure is also unreasonable, resulting in its large size and high production cost.
At this time, CTC has independently completed the upgrade of Datapoint 2200, did not adopt the microprocessor scheme, and the problems of running speed and heat dissipation have been well solved. The TMX 1795 project is thus terminated.
In fact, Deyi not only dabbled in computer processors, but also had an all-powerful presence in the mobile chip market, no less than today’s Qualcomm Snapdragon.
In an era when iOS and Android systems were not yet popular, Nokia was a loyal user of Deyi processors. At the same time, Deyi processors appear in a number of Motorola models, such as Motorola Diana, milestones and so on.
At its peak, Deyi had a 20% share of the global mobile phone chip market, but it declined for three consecutive years from 2007 to 2009 under the competition of Qualcomm. In 2007, Qualcomm surpassed Deyi in the market share of mobile phone chips for the first time.
Why did Deyi, which could have continued its splendor in the smartphone era, fall so badly? This is related to the characteristics of the Deyi processor itself. Deyi’s processor is only a processor, only GPU and some DSP units, mobile phone manufacturers also need to match other companies’ baseband chips if they use their chips, which is more expensive. As a result, Deyi is often at a disadvantage when competing with Qualcomm, which holds a large number of communications patents.
In 2008, great changes have taken place in the mobile phone chip market. Deyi, a giant that has dominated the market for many years, announced the sale of its general-purpose mobile phone baseband division in the third quarter. At the same time, Deyi still retains the customized baseband chip business and OMAP business.
In September 2012, Deyi, which has withdrawn from the mobile phone baseband market, announced a further withdrawal from the smartphone processor market. Rich Templeton, then chairman of Deyi, said he wanted to transform the company into a company with “analog and embedded processing products”. He dared to make up his mind to give up the mobile phone baseband market because there were so many competitors that there were more than 10. “the world of baseband chips is changing, which is why we should focus on investing in new areas.”
What is the secret of TI to be the leader of semiconductors?
Since its establishment in 1930, Texas Instruments (TI) has gone through 92 years, and its simulation, embedded processing and wireless technology have penetrated into all aspects of people’s daily life, providing convenience for our lives. Because its chip products have penetrated into almost all areas of electronics, TI is generally regarded as a bellwether for the semiconductor and electronics industries in the stock market.
Over the years, Texas Instruments has also declared its global dominance in many semiconductor fields with outstanding performance. According to Gartner data, Texas Instruments ranked seventh in global semiconductor revenue in 2020, maintained the first place in the world in the field of digital signal processors and analog IC, and remained absolutely ahead in a number of subdivision tracks. According to relevant data, Texas Instruments has been in the TOP10 list of global semiconductor companies for nearly 30 years.
Looking back at the situation of semiconductors in the world in 1992, one of the secrets of Texas Instruments’ stable position in the leader of semiconductors is that it dares to do business “subtraction” and “addition” and adjust the business layout in time. Especially from 1996 to 2001, from the Internet boom to the bubble period, TI first transformed from a diversified company to a semiconductor company. In a short period of four years, it made a strategic adjustment around the two key businesses of DSP and analog technology.
TI has done “subtraction” of the main business many times to better focus on areas of advantage, including:
In 1988, TI sold its GSI-related business to Halliburton
In 1991, TI sold its industrial control division in Johnson City, Tennessee, to Siemens.
In 1997, TI sold its defense business to Raytheon and others.
In 2007, TI expanded its business into automotive and industrial sectors after selling its LCD, DSL, sensor and controller, and mobile phone baseband businesses to Intel, Infineon and Bain Capital.
While doing a good job of subtraction, TI is also good at adding, aggressively expanding its business through a series of acquisitions. From 1996 to 2011, the company disclosed as many as 33 foreign acquisitions. It mainly includes:
In 1996, TI acquired Tartan
In 1997, TI acquired Amati Communications for $395 million.
In 1998, TI acquired GO DSP and the standard logic business of Harris Semiconductor.
In 1999, TI acquired Telogy Networks for $47 million
In 2000, TI acquired Burr-Brown for $7.6 billion, consolidating its dominant position in the field of data converters and amplifiers and forming a wide range of products ranging from power IC to amplifier IC to A-D/D-A converters.
In 2006, TI acquired Chipcon AS
In 2007, TI acquired Integrated Circuit Designs (ICD)
In 2009, TI acquired Luminary Micro
In 2011, TI acquired National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion, rapidly increasing its market share in general analog devices to about 17%, making it the largest manufacturer of analog circuit components in the world, leaving its competitors far behind and solving the problem of tight production capacity.
Many purposeful “additions” have made the price of TI soar. In 2011, TI ranked 175th among the Fortune 500s. It was in this year that TI overtook ST to become the simulation leader, accounting for 15.4% of the total simulation market share. Since then, Texas Instruments has maintained a leading position in the field of analog chips, which no one can shake. According to the latest report from IC Insights, Texas Instruments will continue to be the leader in analog IC supply in 2021 with $14.1 billion in simulated sales and a 19% market share.
(proofread / holly)