Chips Ahoy!

America's semiconductor industry, nearly given up for lost, is making an electrifying comeback

Not too long ago, the U.S. semiconductor industry faced extinction. After dominating the worldwide market since the invention of the computer chip in 1958, American manufacturers were devastated by foreign competition during the past decade. Led by the Japanese, low-cost Asian copycats undercut prices and mowed down U.S. chipmakers with murderous effect: the semiconductor industry lost more than $4 billion and 25,000 jobs between 1983 and 1989. Dozens of firms abandoned the business. American companies also hurt their own cause with shoddy work and high defect rates. Written off by many experts, the semiconductor industry seemed destined for the same fate...

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