Industry: Beyond the Transistor

Science keeps discovering new worlds and industry keeps conquering them—sometimes absorbing a few casualties in the process. After the transistor was invented, it caused trouble for many vacuum-tube producers, later suffered itself from overproduction and slashed prices. The transistor went on to spur the growth of the U.S. electronics industry to a record $16 billion. But now it has a rival—the microcircuit, a tiny device that represents a bigger advance over the transistor than the transistor did over the bulky vacuum tube. Last year some $20 million worth of microcircuits (mostly as...

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