Fairchild Semiconductor

Fairchild Semiconductor

Overview
Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc. is an American semiconductor
Semiconductor
A semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity due to electron flow intermediate in magnitude between that of a conductor and an insulator. This means a conductivity roughly in the range of 103 to 10−8 siemens per centimeter...

 company based in San Jose, California
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

. Founded in 1957, it was a pioneer in transistor and integrated circuit manufacturing. After it was bought by Schlumberger
Schlumberger
Schlumberger Limited is the world's largest oilfield services company. Schlumberger employs over 110,000 people of more than 140 nationalities working in approximately 80 countries...

 and sold to National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor was an American semiconductor manufacturer, that specialized in analog devices and subsystems,formerly headquartered in Santa Clara, California, USA. The products of National Semiconductor included power management circuits, display drivers, audio and operational amplifiers,...

, Fairchild was spun out
Spin out
A spin-out, also known as a spin-off or a starburst, refers to a type of corporate action where a company "splits off" sections of itself as a separate business....

 as an independent company in 1997.

The company has locations in San Jose, California
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

; West Jordan, Utah
West Jordan, Utah
West Jordan is a city in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. West Jordan is a rapidly growing suburb of Salt Lake City and has a mixed economy. According to the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 103,712, placing it as the fourth most populated in the state. The city occupies the...

; Mountaintop, Pennsylvania; Bucheon, South Korea; Penang, Malaysia; Suzhou, China; and Cebu, Philippines
Cebu City
The City of Cebu is the capital city of Cebu and is the second largest city in the Philippines, the second most significant metropolitan centre in the Philippines and known as the oldest settlement established by the Spaniards in the country.The city is located on the eastern shore of Cebu and was...

; among others.
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Encyclopedia
Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc. is an American semiconductor
Semiconductor
A semiconductor is a material with electrical conductivity due to electron flow intermediate in magnitude between that of a conductor and an insulator. This means a conductivity roughly in the range of 103 to 10−8 siemens per centimeter...

 company based in San Jose, California
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

. Founded in 1957, it was a pioneer in transistor and integrated circuit manufacturing. After it was bought by Schlumberger
Schlumberger
Schlumberger Limited is the world's largest oilfield services company. Schlumberger employs over 110,000 people of more than 140 nationalities working in approximately 80 countries...

 and sold to National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor was an American semiconductor manufacturer, that specialized in analog devices and subsystems,formerly headquartered in Santa Clara, California, USA. The products of National Semiconductor included power management circuits, display drivers, audio and operational amplifiers,...

, Fairchild was spun out
Spin out
A spin-out, also known as a spin-off or a starburst, refers to a type of corporate action where a company "splits off" sections of itself as a separate business....

 as an independent company in 1997.

The company has locations in San Jose, California
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

; West Jordan, Utah
West Jordan, Utah
West Jordan is a city in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. West Jordan is a rapidly growing suburb of Salt Lake City and has a mixed economy. According to the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 103,712, placing it as the fourth most populated in the state. The city occupies the...

; Mountaintop, Pennsylvania; Bucheon, South Korea; Penang, Malaysia; Suzhou, China; and Cebu, Philippines
Cebu City
The City of Cebu is the capital city of Cebu and is the second largest city in the Philippines, the second most significant metropolitan centre in the Philippines and known as the oldest settlement established by the Spaniards in the country.The city is located on the eastern shore of Cebu and was...

; among others. A design center has been launched in Pune, India.

1956


In 1956, William Shockley
William Shockley
William Bradford Shockley Jr. was an American physicist and inventor. Along with John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain, Shockley co-invented the transistor, for which all three were awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics.Shockley's attempts to commercialize a new transistor design in the 1950s...

 opened Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory
Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory
Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, the primary lab of the Shockley Transistor Company, was the first company to work on silicon semiconductor devices in what came to be known as Silicon Valley. It was purchased by Clevite in 1960, and officially closed shortly after being sold to ITT in 1968...

 as a division of Beckman Instruments in Mountain View, California
Mountain View, California
-Downtown:Mountain View has a pedestrian-friendly downtown centered on Castro Street. The downtown area consists of the seven blocks of Castro Street from the Downtown Mountain View Station transit center in the north to the intersection with El Camino Real in the south...

; his plan was to develop a new type of "4-layer diode" that would work faster and have more uses than current transistor
Transistor
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power. It is composed of a semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current...

s. At first he attempted to hire some of his former colleagues from Bell Labs
Bell Labs
Bell Laboratories is the research and development subsidiary of the French-owned Alcatel-Lucent and previously of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company , half-owned through its Western Electric manufacturing subsidiary.Bell Laboratories operates its...

, but none were willing to move to the West Coast or work with Shockley again. Instead he founded the core of the new company with what he considered the best and brightest graduates coming out of American engineering schools.

Only a year later, the staff of eight engineers decided to leave Shockley and form their own company. The group later became known widely as the Traitorous Eight
Traitorous Eight
The Traitorous Eight, as they became known, are eight men who left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory to form Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957. More neutral terms include the "Fairchild Eight" and the "Shockley Eight." They have sometimes been called "Fairchildren," although this term has been also...

. The eight men were Julius Blank
Julius Blank
Julius Blank was a semiconductor pioneer and a member of the so-called Traitorous Eight associated with Nobel-winning physicist William Shockley....

, Victor Grinich
Victor Grinich
Victor Grinich was a pioneer in the semiconductor industry and a member of the Traitorous Eight that founded Silicon Valley....

, Jean Hoerni
Jean Hoerni
Jean Amédée Hoerni was a silicon transistor pioneer and a member of the Traitorous Eight. He was remembered for developing the planar process....

, Eugene Kleiner
Eugene Kleiner
Eugene Kleiner was one of the original founders of Kleiner Perkins, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm which later became Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers....

, Jay Last
Jay Last
Jay T. Last is a silicon pioneer and a member of the so-called Traitorous Eight that founded Silicon Valley.He was born in 1929 in Butler, Pennsylvania. He earned his bachelor's degree in Optics at the University of Rochester in 1951 and his Ph.D...

, Gordon Moore
Gordon Moore
Gordon Earle Moore is the co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Intel Corporation and the author of Moore's Law .-Life and career:...

, Robert Noyce
Robert Noyce
Robert Norton Noyce , nicknamed "the Mayor of Silicon Valley", co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel in 1968...

, and Sheldon Roberts
Sheldon Roberts
C. Sheldon Roberts is a semiconductor pioneer, and member of the Traitorous Eight who founded Silicon Valley.He earned a Bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1948, and a Master's degree in 1949 and Ph.D...

. Looking for funding on their own project, they turned to Sherman Fairchild
Sherman Fairchild
Sherman Mills Fairchild was an inventor and serial entrepreneur who founded over 70 companies namely Fairchild Aircraft, Fairchild Industries, Fairchild Aviation Corporation and Fairchild Camera and Instrument. Fairchild made significant contributions to the aviation industry and was inducted into...

's Fairchild Camera and Instrument
Fairchild Camera and Instrument
Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation was a company founded by Sherman Fairchild. It was based on the East Coast of the United States, and provided research and development for flash photography equipment...

, an Eastern U.S. company with considerable military contracts. In 1957 Fairchild Semiconductor was started with plans on making silicon
Silicon
Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, it is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon, the nonmetal directly above it in the periodic table, but more reactive than germanium, the metalloid directly below it in the table...

 transistors—at the time germanium
Germanium
Germanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ge and atomic number 32. It is a lustrous, hard, grayish-white metalloid in the carbon group, chemically similar to its group neighbors tin and silicon. The isolated element is a semiconductor, with an appearance most similar to elemental silicon....

 was still a common material for semiconductor use.

According to Sherman Fairchild, Noyce's impassioned presentation of his vision was the reason Sherman Fairchild had agreed to create the semiconductor division for the Traitorous Eight. Noyce advocated the use of silicon as substrate—since the material costs would consist of sand and a few fine wires, the major cost would be in the manufacturing process. Noyce also expressed his belief that silicon semiconductors would herald the start of disposable appliances that due to cheap electronic components would not be repaired but disposed when worn out.

Their first transistors were of the silicon mesa variety, innovative for their time, but with several drawbacks. Later Fairchild pioneered the planar process developed by Jean Hoerni in 1958, which was a huge improvement—transistors could be made easier, cheaper, and with much higher performance. Fairchild's planar process
Planar process
The planar process is a manufacturing process used in the semiconductor industry to build individual components of a transistor, and in turn, connect those transistors together. It is the primary process by which modern integrated circuits are built...

 made most other transistor designs obsolete. One casualty of this was Philco
Philco
Philco, the Philadelphia Storage Battery Company , was a pioneer in early battery, radio, and television production as well as former employer of Philo Farnsworth, inventor of cathode ray tube television...

's transistor division, which had just built a $40 million dollar plant to make their now totally obsolete germanium PADT process transistors. Within a few years every other transistor company copied or licensed the Fairchild planar process.

Their first marketed planar transistor was the 2N697 (1958) (initially a mesa transistor), and was a huge success. The first batch of 100 was sold to IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 for $150 a piece. Only two years later they had managed to build a circuit with four transistors on a single wafer of silicon, thereby creating the first silicon integrated circuit. (Texas Instruments'
Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Inc. , widely known as TI, is an American company based in Dallas, Texas, United States, which develops and commercializes semiconductor and computer technology...

 Jack Kilby
Jack Kilby
Jack St. Clair Kilby was an American physicist who took part in the invention of the integrated circuit while working at Texas Instruments in 1958. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 2000. He is credited with the invention of the integrated circuit or microchip...

 had developed an integrated circuit made of germanium on September 12, 1958, and was awarded a U.S. patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

). The company grew from twelve to twelve thousand employees, and was soon making $130 million a year.

1960s


Fairchild's Noyce and Texas Instrument's Kilby had independently invented the integrated circuit (IC) based on bipolar technology. In 1960, Noyce invented the planar integrated circuit. The industry preferred Fairchild's invention over Texas Instruments' because the transistors in planar ICs were interconnected by a thinfilm deposit, whereas Texas Instruments' invention required fine wires to connect the individual circuits. Noyce's invention was enabled by the planar process developed by Jean Hoerni.

In the early 1960s, Fairchild R&D began development of MOSFET
MOSFET
The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor is a transistor used for amplifying or switching electronic signals. The basic principle of this kind of transistor was first patented by Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1925...

 (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor) technology, which had been pioneered by RCA
RCA
RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an American electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. The RCA trademark is currently owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor...

 and Bell Labs
Bell Labs
Bell Laboratories is the research and development subsidiary of the French-owned Alcatel-Lucent and previously of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company , half-owned through its Western Electric manufacturing subsidiary.Bell Laboratories operates its...

. The experiments led to Fairchild's development of MOS integrated circuits. However, the instability of the technology would not lead to manufacturing production of MOS integrated circuits in Fairchild.

In 1963, Fairchild hired Robert Widlar
Bob Widlar
Robert John Widlar was an American electronic engineer and a pioneer of linear integrated circuit design. Widlar invented the basic building blocks of linear ICs like the Widlar current source, the Widlar bandgap voltage reference and the Widlar output stage...

 to design analog operational amplifiers using Fairchild's process. Since Fairchild's processes were optimised for digital circuits, Widlar collaborated with process engineer Dave Talbert. The collaboration resulted in two revolutionary products—µA702 and µA709.

Hence, Fairchild dominated the analog integrated circuit market, having introduced the first IC operational amplifiers
Operational amplifier
An operational amplifier is a DC-coupled high-gain electronic voltage amplifier with a differential input and, usually, a single-ended output...

, or "op amps", Bob Widlar
Bob Widlar
Robert John Widlar was an American electronic engineer and a pioneer of linear integrated circuit design. Widlar invented the basic building blocks of linear ICs like the Widlar current source, the Widlar bandgap voltage reference and the Widlar output stage...

's µA702 (in 1964) and µA709. In 1968, Fairchild introduced David Fullagar's µA741, which became the most popular IC op amp of all time.

By 1965, Fairchild's process improvements had brought low-cost manufacturing to the semiconductor industry—making Fairchild nearly the only profitable semiconductor manufacturer in the United States. Fairchild dominated the market in DTL, op-amps and mainframe computer custom circuits.

Fairchild had not initially done well in the digital integrated circuit market. Their first line of ICs was the "micrologic" RTL
Resistor-transistor logic
Resistor–transistor logic is a class of digital circuits built using resistors as the input network and bipolar junction transistors as switching devices...

 (Resistor-Transistor-Logic) line which was used in the Apollo Guidance Computer
Apollo Guidance Computer
The Apollo Guidance Computer provided onboard computation and control for guidance, navigation, and control of the Command Module and Lunar Module spacecraft of the Apollo program...

. It had the advantage of being extremely simple—each inverter consisted of just one transistor and two resistors. But the logic family had many drawbacks that had made it marginal for commercial purposes, and not well suited for military applications. The logic could only tolerate about 100 millivolts of noise—far too low for comfort. It was a while before Fairchild relied on more robust designs, such as DTL
Diode-transistor logic
Diode–transistor logic is a class of digital circuits that is the direct ancestor of transistor–transistor logic. It is called so because the logic gating function is performed by a diode network and the amplifying function is performed by a transistor .- Implementations :The DTL circuit shown in...

 (diode-transistor-logic) which had much better noise margins.

Sales due to Fairchild semiconductor division had doubled each year and by the mid-1960s comprised two thirds of total sales of the parent company. In 1966, the sales of Fairchild was second to Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Inc. , widely known as TI, is an American company based in Dallas, Texas, United States, which develops and commercializes semiconductor and computer technology...

's, followed in third place by Motorola
Motorola
Motorola, Inc. was an American multinational telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, which was eventually divided into two independent public companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on January 4, 2011, after losing $4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009...

. Noyce was rewarded with the position of corporate vice-president and hence became the de facto head of the semiconductor division.

However, internal troubles at Fairchild began to surface with a drop in earnings in 1967. There was increasing competition from newer startups. The semiconductor division, situated in Mountain View and Palo Alto, California, was actually managed by executives from Syossett, New York, who visited the California sites once a year—even though the semiconductor division earned most of the profits of the company. Fairchild's president at that time, John Carter, had used all the profits to fund acquisitions of unprofitable ventures.

Noyce's position on Fairchild's executive staff was consistently compromised by Sherman Fairchild's faction. Charles E Sporck was Noyce's operations manager. Sporck was reputed to run the tightest operation in the world. Sporck, Pierre Lamond
Pierre Lamond
Pierre R Lamond is a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, who has specialised in semiconductors. He was a partner at Sequoia Capital based in Menlo Park from 1981 until he left to join Vinod Khosla's Khosla Ventures as General Partner in March 2009....

 and most managers had grown upset and disillusioned with corporate focus on unprofitable ventures at the expense of the semiconductor division. Executives at the semiconductor division were alloted substantially fewer stock options compared to other divisions. In March 1967, Sporck was hired away by Peter J Sprague to National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor was an American semiconductor manufacturer, that specialized in analog devices and subsystems,formerly headquartered in Santa Clara, California, USA. The products of National Semiconductor included power management circuits, display drivers, audio and operational amplifiers,...

. Sporck brought with him four other Fairchild personnel. Actually, Lamond had previously assembled a team of Fairchild managers in preparation to defect to Plessey
Plessey
The Plessey Company plc was a British-based international electronics, defence and telecommunications company. It originated in 1917, growing and diversifying into electronics. It expanded after the second world war by acquisition of companies and formed overseas companies...

, a British company. Lamond had recruited Sporck to be his own boss. When negotiations with Plessey broke down over stock options, Lamond and Sporck succumbed to Widlar's and Talbert's (who were already employed at National Semiconductor) suggestion that they look to National Semiconductor. Widlar and Talbert had earlier left Fairchild to join Molectro, which was later acquired by National Semiconductor.

In the fall of 1967, Fairchild suffered loss for the first time since 1958 and announced write-offs of $4 million due to excess capacity, which contributed to a total loss of $7.6 million. Profits had sunken to $0.50 a share compared to $3 a share the previous year, while the value of the stock dropped in half. In December 1967, the board ordered Carter to sell off all of Fairchild's unprofitable ventures. Carter responded to the order by resigning abruptly.

Furthermore, Fairchild's DTL technology was being overtaken by Texas Instruments's faster TTL (transistor–transistor logic).

While Noyce was considered the natural successor to Carter, the board decided not to promote him. Sherman led the board to choose Richard Hodgson. Within a few months Hodgson was replaced by a management committee led by Noyce, while Sherman Fairchild looked for a new CEO other than Noyce. In response, Noyce discreetly planned a new company with Gordon Moore
Gordon Moore
Gordon Earle Moore is the co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Intel Corporation and the author of Moore's Law .-Life and career:...

, the head of R&D. They left Fairchild to found Intel in 1968. Among the investors of Intel were Hodgson and five of the founding members of Fairchild.

Sherman Fairchild hired Lester Hogan
Lester Hogan
Clarence Lester "Les" Hogan was an American physicist and a pioneer in microwave and semiconductor technology....

, who was the head of Motorola
Motorola
Motorola, Inc. was an American multinational telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, which was eventually divided into two independent public companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on January 4, 2011, after losing $4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009...

 semiconductor division. Hogan proceeded to hire another hundred managers from Motorola to entirely displace the management of Fairchild.

The loss of these iconic executives, coupled with Hogan's displacement of Fairchild managers demoralised Fairchild and prompted the entire exodus of employees to found new companies.

Many of the original founders, otherwise known as the "fairchildren", had left Fairchild in the 1960s to form companies that grew to prominence in the 1970s. Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore were among the last of the original founders to leave. At which point the brain-drain of talents that had fueled the growth of the company was complete.

A Fairchild advertisement of the time showed a collage
Collage
A collage is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole....

 of the logo
Logo
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition...

s of Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is a term which refers to the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California in the United States. The region is home to many of the world's largest technology corporations...

 with the annotation "We started it all.".

1970s


Hogan's action to hire from Motorola had Motorola file a law suit against Fairchild, which the court then decided in Fairchild's favor in 1973. Judge William Copple, ruled that Fairchild's results were so unimpressive that it was impossible to assess damages "under any theory." Hogan was dismissed as president the next year, but remained as vice chairman.

In 1973, Fairchild became the first company to produce a commercial Charge-coupled device
Charge-coupled device
A charge-coupled device is a device for the movement of electrical charge, usually from within the device to an area where the charge can be manipulated, for example conversion into a digital value. This is achieved by "shifting" the signals between stages within the device one at a time...

 (CCD) following its invention at Bell Labs
Bell Labs
Bell Laboratories is the research and development subsidiary of the French-owned Alcatel-Lucent and previously of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company , half-owned through its Western Electric manufacturing subsidiary.Bell Laboratories operates its...

. Digital image sensors are still produced today at their descendant company, Fairchild Imaging. The CCD had a difficult birth, with the devastating effects on Fairchild of the 1973–75 recession
1973–75 recession
The 1973–75 recession in the United States or 1970s recession was a period of economic stagnation in much of the Western world during the 1970s, putting an end to the general post-World War II economic boom. It differed from many previous recessions as being a stagflation, where high unemployment...

 that followed on the 1973 oil crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

.

After Intel introduced the 8008
Intel 8008
The Intel 8008 was an early byte-oriented microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and introduced in April 1972. It was an 8-bit CPU with an external 14-bit address bus that could address 16KB of memory...

 8-bit microprocessor, Fairchild developed the Fairchild F8
Fairchild F8
The Fairchild F8 was an 8-bit microprocessor created by Fairchild Semiconductor. It was introduced in 1975 and was "the world´s leading microprocessor in terms of CPU sales" in 1977.-Features:...

 8-bit microprocessor, which had an unusual architecture and was not a great market success.

In 1976, the company released the first video game system to use ROM cartridges, the Fairchild Video Entertainment System (or VES) later renamed Channel F, using the F8 microprocessor. The system was successful initially, but quickly lost popularity when the Atari 2600
Atari 2600
The Atari 2600 is a video game console released in October 1977 by Atari, Inc. It is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in...

 Video Computer System (or VCS) was released.

By the end of the 1970s they had few new products in the pipeline, and increasingly turned to niche markets with their existing product line, notably "hardened" integrated circuits for military and space applications. Fairchild was being operated at a loss, and the bottomline subsisted mostly from licensing of its patents.

In 1979, Fairchild Camera and Instrument was purchased by Schlumberger Limited, an oil field
Oil field
An oil field is a region with an abundance of oil wells extracting petroleum from below ground. Because the oil reservoirs typically extend over a large area, possibly several hundred kilometres across, full exploitation entails multiple wells scattered across the area...

 services company, for $425 million. At this time, Fairchild's intellectual properties, on which Fairchild had been subsisting, were expiring.

1980s


In 1980, under Schlumberger management, the Fairchild Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence Research (FLAIR) was started within Fairchild Research;
In 1985 the lab was separated out to form Schlumberger Palo Alto Research (SPAR).

Fairchild research developed the Clipper architecture
Clipper architecture
The Clipper architecture is a 32-bit RISC-like instruction set architecture designed by Fairchild Semiconductor. The architecture never enjoyed much market success, and the only computer manufacturers to create major product lines using Clipper processors were Intergraph and High Level Hardware...

, a 32-bit RISC-like computer architecture, in the 1980s, resulting in the shipping of the C100 chip in 1986. The technology was later sold to Intergraph
Intergraph
Intergraph Corporation is an American software development and services company. It provides enterprise engineering and geospatially powered software to businesses, governments, and organizations around the world. Intergraph operates through two divisions: Process, Power & Marine and Security,...

, its main customer.

Schlumberger sold Fairchild to National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor was an American semiconductor manufacturer, that specialized in analog devices and subsystems,formerly headquartered in Santa Clara, California, USA. The products of National Semiconductor included power management circuits, display drivers, audio and operational amplifiers,...

 in 1987 for $200 million.http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2002/0318/076.html The sale did not include Fairchild's Test Division, which designed and produced automated test equipment (ATE) for the semiconductor manufacturing industry.

1996


Gil Amelio
Gil Amelio
Gilbert Frank Amelio is an American technology executive. He grew up in Miami, Florida and received a bachelor's degree, master's degree, and Ph.D. in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology...

, then CEO, had divided National Semiconductor products into two divisions: Standard Products group which comprises low-margin, logic and memory chips—commodity products which were more susceptible to cyclical demands and through which National Semiconductor had matured; and Communications & Computing group which comprises high-margin, value-added analogue and mixed-signal chips.

Amelio's divisioning of products would prepare National Semiconductor for the eventual disposal of low-margin commodity product lines. These product lines were constituted into the Fairchild division, headed by Kirk Pond, within National Semiconductor during Brian Halla's tenure.

In 1997, the reconstituted Fairchild Semiconductor was reborn as an independent company, based in South Portland, Maine
South Portland, Maine
South Portland is a city in Cumberland County, Maine, United States, and is the fourth-largest city in the state. Founded in 1895, as of the 2010 census, the city population was 25,002. Known for its working waterfront, South Portland is situated on Portland Harbor and overlooks the skyline of...

 with Kirk Pond as CEO.

On March 11, 1997, National Semiconductor Corporation announced the US$550 million sale of a reconstituted Fairchild to the management of Fairchild with the backing of Sterling LLC, a unit of Citicorp Venture Capital. Fairchild carried with it what was mostly the Standard Products group previously segregated by Amelio.

The reconstitution was characterised by having most of existing formerly Fairchild facilities retained by National Semiconductor, with the exception of the original Fairchild facilities in South Portland, Maine. While Fairchild inherited some offshore locations that were formerly National Semiconductor facilities.

The Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation announced November 27, 1997 that it would acquire the semiconductor division of the Raytheon Corporation for about $120 million in cash. The acquisition was completed on December 31, 1997.

1999


In August 1999, Fairchild Semiconductor again became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...

 with the ticker symbol FCS. Fairchild's South Portland, Maine location is the longest continuously operating semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world.

2001


Fairchild Semiconductor announced March 19, 2001 it had completed the acquisition of Intersil Corporation's discrete power business for approximately $338 million in cash. The acquisition moved Fairchild to a position as the second largest power MOSFET supplier in the world, representing a 20 percent share of this $3 billion market that grew 40 percent last year.

The original Intersil
Intersil
Intersil Corporation is an American company that specializes in the design, development and manufacturing of high-performance analog semiconductors for four high-growth markets — Communications, Computing, High End Consumer and Industrial.-Company history:...

 was founded by Jean Hoerni in 1967, a founding member of the original Fairchild semiconductor division in 1957. Intersil had undergone the same fate of being a reconstituted namesake company.

Fairchild Semiconductor announced September 6, 2001 the acquisition of Impala Linear Corporation, based in San Jose, California for approximately $6 million in stock and cash. Impala brought with it expertise in designing analog power management semiconductors for hand-held devices like laptops, MP3 players, cell phones, portable test equipment and PDA's.

2004


On January 9, 2004, Fairchild Semiconductor CEO Kirk Pond was appointed as a Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, elected by member banks to serve a three year term.

2005


On April 13, 2005, Fairchild announced appointment of Mark Thompson as CEO of the corporation. Thompson would also be President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Fairchild Semiconductor International. He originally joined Fairchild as Executive Vice President, Manufacturing and Technology Group.

Kirk Pond remained as Chairman of the board.

Prior to joining Fairchild, Dr. Thompson served as CEO of Big Bear Networks. He also serves on the board of directors of American Science and Engineering, Inc. in Massachusetts. Thompson holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina and a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York.

2006


Fairchild Semiconductor announced on March 15, 2006 that Kirk P. Pond, would retire as Chairman at the company's annual stockholders' meeting on May 3, 2006. Pond would continue as a member of the company’s board of directors.

Mark Thompson, CEO, became Chairman.

2007


Fairchild Semiconductor celebrates a symbolic 50 year anniversary of the original Fairchild semiconductor division which was established in 1957 and its 10th year as being the newly reconstituted Fairchild.

On September 1, 2007 Warren, NJ-based RF semiconductor supplier Anadigics acquired Fairchild Semiconductor's RF design team, located in Tyngsboro, Mass., for $2.3 million.

Alumni

  • Gil Amelio
    Gil Amelio
    Gilbert Frank Amelio is an American technology executive. He grew up in Miami, Florida and received a bachelor's degree, master's degree, and Ph.D. in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology...

  • Lee Boysel
    Lee Boysel
    Lee Boysel is an American engineer, and entrepreneur. While at Fairchild Semiconductor, he developed four-phase logic and built the first integrated circuit with over 100 logic gates. He founded Four-Phase Systems to commercialize the technology, and sold the company to Motorola in...

  • Wilfred Corrigan
    Wilfred Corrigan
    Wilfred J. Corrigan is a British engineer and entrepreneur, known for founding and running LSI Logic Corp. He was the chairman and chief executive of LSI for over two decades until 2005, during the earlier part of which he made made vital contributions to the company. He was the founder and served...

  • Alan L. Davis
    Alan L. Davis
    Alan L. Davis is an American computer scientist and researcher, a professor of computer science at the University of Utah, and associate director of the C. S. department there....

  • James M. Early
    James M. Early
    James M. Early was an American engineer, best known for his work on transistors and charge-coupled device imagers. He is also known as Jim Early....

  • Federico Faggin
    Federico Faggin
    Federico Faggin , who received in 2010 the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by Barack Obama, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers, and inventors, at the White House in Washington, is an Italian-born and naturalized U.S...

  • Andrew Grove
    Andrew Grove
    Andrew Stephen Grove , is a Hungarian-born Jewish-American Businessman/ Engineer, Author & a science pioneer in the semiconductor industry. He escaped from Communist-controlled Hungary at the age of 20 and moved to the U.S., where he finished his education...

  • Peter E. Hart
    Peter E. Hart
    Peter E. Hart is an American computer scientist and entrepreneur. He was chairman and president of Ricoh Innovations, which he founded in 1997...

  • Jean Hoerni
    Jean Hoerni
    Jean Amédée Hoerni was a silicon transistor pioneer and a member of the Traitorous Eight. He was remembered for developing the planar process....

  • Lester Hogan
    Lester Hogan
    Clarence Lester "Les" Hogan was an American physicist and a pioneer in microwave and semiconductor technology....

  • Eugene Kleiner
    Eugene Kleiner
    Eugene Kleiner was one of the original founders of Kleiner Perkins, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm which later became Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers....

  • Richard Lyon
    Richard Francis Lyon
    Richard Francis Lyon , is an American inventor,scientist, and engineer, noted for having invented the optical mouse.He has worked in many aspects of signal processing and was a co-founder of Foveon Inc.,...

  • Gordon Moore
    Gordon Moore
    Gordon Earle Moore is the co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Intel Corporation and the author of Moore's Law .-Life and career:...

  • Robert Noyce
    Robert Noyce
    Robert Norton Noyce , nicknamed "the Mayor of Silicon Valley", co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel in 1968...

  • Chih-Tang Sah
    Chih-Tang Sah
    Chih-Tang Sah is the Pittman Eminent Scholar and a Graduate Research Professor at the University of Florida, USA from 1988. He was a Professor of Physics and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, emeritus, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he taught for 26 years...

  • Jerry Sanders
    Jerry Sanders (businessman)
    Walter Jeremiah Sanders III was a co-founder and a long-time CEO of the American semiconductor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices ....

  • Robert Swanson
  • Ed Turney
    Edwin Turney
    Edwin James Turney is best known as one of the founders of Advanced Micro Devices serving as the Vice President of Sales and Administration from 1969 to 1974.-Early life:...

  • Leslie L. Vadász
    Leslie L. Vadász
    Leslie L. Vadász is a Hungarian-American engineer and manager, one of the founding members of Intel Corporation. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from McGill University and completed AMP studies at Harvard University .He moved to the United States in 1961, first working for...

  • Frank Wanlass
    Frank Wanlass
    Frank Marion Wanlass was an electrical engineer. He obtained his PhD from the University of Utah. He invented CMOS logic circuits in 1963 while working at Fairchild Semiconductor. He was given U.S. patent #3,356,858 for "Low Stand-By Power Complementary Field Effect Circuitry" in 1967...

  • Bob Widlar
    Bob Widlar
    Robert John Widlar was an American electronic engineer and a pioneer of linear integrated circuit design. Widlar invented the basic building blocks of linear ICs like the Widlar current source, the Widlar bandgap voltage reference and the Widlar output stage...

  • Andrew Witkin
    Andrew Witkin
    Andrew P. Witkin was an American computer scientist who made major contributions in computer vision and computer graphics.-Career:...

  • Don Valentine
    Don Valentine
    Donald T. "Don" Valentine is an influential venture capitalist who concentrates mainly on technology companies in the United States. He has been called the "grandfather of Silicon Valley venture capital"...



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