Texas Instruments Incorporated, manufacturer and developer of high-tech electronic components, based in Dallas, Texas. Engineers at Texas Instruments have produced several major advancements in the electronics field, including the silicon transistor, the integrated circuit, and the microprocessor. Texas Instruments products include computer chips, devices for semiconductors, digital signal processors for cellular phones and computer multimedia applications, digital micromirror device technology for high-definition television, and control units for weapons systems.
Texas Instruments began as Geophysical Service, a Texas oil exploration company founded in 1930 by J. Clarence Karcher and Eugene McDermott. Geophysical Service pioneered the use of sound-wave technology to locate oil deposits. During World War II (1939-1945) the company's research and equipment laboratories began working on electronic equipment for military use. After the war electronics manufacturing became the company's major activity, and in 1951 a reorganization resulted in the name change to Texas Instruments.
In 1954 the company developed the first commercial transistor made from silicon. The silicon transistor was significantly less expensive and more reliable than previous transistors made from germanium. In that same year the company marketed the world's first small, portable transistor radio, the Regency Radio. In 1958 Texas Instruments engineer Jack Kilby invented the integrated circuit, which greatly increased the capabilities of electronic equipment. Texas Instruments and other companies used the integrated circuit in such products as calculators, computers, televisions, and stereo equipment. In 1975 Texas Instruments produced the world's first inexpensive digital watch. In 1979 it began producing personal computers.
Despite Texas Instrument's many landmark inventions, it had difficulty fighting off low-cost Asian competition. By 1983 the company was out of the home computer and digital watch businesses. In that same year Texas Instruments reported its first operating loss ever, amounting to $145 million.
In 1985 Jerry R. Junkins took over as president and chief executive officer and revived the company's fortunes. In 1989 a Japanese court upheld a patent for Kilby's integrated circuit. As a result, a number of major Japanese corporations that used the integrated circuit to make electronic products were ordered to pay royalties to Texas Instruments, boosting the company's income by many millions of dollars over several years. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the company entered into a number of strategic partnerships to produce custom-designed electronic components for Sun Microsystems, Inc., Sony Corporation, General Motors Corporation, and Sweden's LM Ericsson Telephone Company. Junkins died suddenly in 1996 and was replaced by Thomas Engibous.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99.
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