Big Blue's Chip Club

IBM and six competitors join forces to take on the Japanese

Of all the trade battles between Japan and the U.S., few have provoked more friction than the fight over the semiconductor industry. Ten years ago, U.S. companies manufactured 80% of the world's computer microchips, but since then the Japanese have taken over roughly that share. Last week a group of seven American computer companies, including archrivals IBM and Digital Equipment, announced a move that might help the U.S. recoup some of its lost ground. The companies will create a joint venture that will manufacture and sell dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips using IBM technology.

U.S. companies currently account for only 10%...

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