A Computer Whiz Short-Circuits

Products fizzle and profits plummet at Texas Instruments

During the 1970s, Texas Instruments was a shining star of American technology. The Dallas-based electronics giant became the world's leading producer of semiconductors, calculators and digital watches. Its annual sales quintupled to $4 billion by 1980. More than any other U.S. company, TI was admired by industry analysts as an innovative, aggressive outfit that was up to the challenge of beating the Japanese at one of their best games: consumer electronics.

But now TI's glow is fading like the flickering display on a calculator with dying batteries....

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