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Encyclopedia > Mostek

Mostek was an integrated circuit manufacturer, founded in 1969 by ex-employees of Texas Instruments. At its peak in the late 1970s, Mostek held an 85% market share of the dynamic random access memory (DRAM) memory chip market worldwide, until being eclipsed by Japanese DRAM manufacturers who offered equivalent chips at lower prices and higher quality. In 1979, soon after its market peak, Mostek was purchased by United Technologies Corporation for $345M. In 1985, after several years of red ink and declining market share, UTC sold Mostek for $71M to the French electronics firm Thomson SA, later part of STMicroelectronics. Mostek's intellectual property portfolio, which included rights to the Intel x86 microprocessor family as well as many foundational patents in DRAM technology, would provide a large windfall of royalty payments for STMicroelectronics in the 1990s. Integrated circuit of Atmel Diopsis 740 System on Chip showing memory blocks, logic and input/output pads around the periphery Microchips with a transparent window, showing the integrated circuit inside. ... Also: 1969 (Stargate SG-1) episode. ... Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN), better known in the electronics industry (and popularly) as TI, is an American company based in Dallas, Texas, USA, renowned for developing and commercializing semiconductor and computer technology. ... Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is a type of random access memory that stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor within an integrated circuit. ... United Technologies Corporation (UTC) (NYSE: UTX) is a multinational corporation based in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, and is the 20th largest U.S. manufacturer. ... Year 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays 1985 Gregorian calendar). ... This article is about the media and entertainment company. ... STMicroelectronics is an international leading supplier of semiconductors. ... For the 2006 film, see Intellectual Property (film). ...


Early calculator business

Mostek's first contract was from Burroughs, a $400 contract for circuit design. William Seward Burroughs (1857-1898), US inventor William S. Burroughs (1914-1997), author and grandson of William Seward Burroughs Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), American author of Tarzan fame The Burroughs Corporation began in 1886 as the American Arithmometer Company in St. ...

The first design to be produced in their newly set-up NMOS fab was the MK1001, a simple shifter chip. They followed this with a 1k DRAM, the MK4006. Mostek had been working with Sprague Electric to develop the ion implantation process which provided a tremendous gain in the control of doping profiles. Using ion implantation, Mostek became an early leader in NMOS technology, while their competition was still only able to manufacturer the cruder and lower performance PMOS technology. The resulting increased speed and lower cost of the MK4006 memory chip made it the runaway favorite IBM and other mainframe and minicomputer manufacturers (cf. BUNCH, Digital Equipment Corporation). NMOS logic uses n-type metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) to implement logic gates and other digital circuits. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Fabrication plant. ... Dram can mean several things: Dram (unit), an imperial unit of volume Dram, an imperial unit of weight or mass, see avoirdupois and apothecaries system Ottoman dram, a unit of weight, see dirhem Armenian dram, a monetary unit DRAM, a type of RAM Category: ... Ion implantation is a materials engineering process by which ions of a material can be implanted into another solid, thereby changing the physical properties of the solid. ... NMOS logic uses n-type metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) to implement logic gates and other digital circuits. ... See MOSFET ... Mainframe may refer to one of the following: Mainframe computer, large data processing systems Mainframe Entertainment, a Canadian computer animation and design company. ... Minicomputer (colloquially, mini) is a largely obsolete term for a class of multi-user computers which make up the middle range of the computing spectrum, in between the largest multi-user systems (traditionally, mainframe computers) and the smallest single-user systems (microcomputers or personal computers). ... The group of competitors (mainframe computer manufacturers) to IBM in the 1960s became known as the BUNCH: Burroughs, UNIVAC, NCR, Control Data Corporation, and Honeywell. ... The DEC logo Digital Equipment Corporation was a pioneering American company in the computer industry. ...

In 1970 Busicom, a Japanese adding machine manufacturer, approached Intel and Mostek with a proposal to introduce a new electronic calculator line. Intel responded first, providing them with the Intel 4004, which they used in a line of desktop calculators. Mostek's device took longer to develop but was a single-chip solution, the MK6010. Busicom used the Mostek design in a new handheld line, the Busicom LE-120A, which went on the market in 1971 and was the smallest calculator available for some time. Hewlett-Packard also contracted with Mostek for mask development and production of chips for their HP-35 line. Busicom was a company that owned the rights to the first microprocessor but sold them back to Intel. ... adding machine Older adding machine. ... Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC, SEHK: 4335), founded in 1968 as Integrated Electronics Corporation, is an American multinational corporation that is best known for designing and manufacturing microprocessors and specialized integrated circuits. ... The Intel 4004, a 4-bit central processing unit (CPU) released by Intel Corp. ... The Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), commonly known as HP, is a very large, global company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States. ... An HP-35 calculator The HP-35 was Hewlett-Packards first pocket calculator and the worlds first scientific pocket calculator (a calculator with trigonometric and exponential functions). ...

World leader in DRAM memories

Mostek co-founder Robert Proebsting invented DRAM address multiplexing with the MK4096 4096 X 1 bit DRAM introduced in 1973. Address multiplexing was a revolutionary approach which reduced cost and board space by fitting a 4K DRAM into a 16 pin package, while competitors took the evolutionary approach which led to a bulky and relatively expensive 22 pin package. Competitors derided the Mostek approach as unnecessarily complex, but Proebsting understood the future roadmap for DRAM memories would benefit greatly if only one new pin were needed for every 4X increase in memory size, instead of the two pins per 4X for the evolutionary approach. Computer manufacturers found address multiplexing to be a compelling feature as they saw a future 64Kb DRAM chip would save 8 pins if implemented with address multiplexing and subsequent generations even more. Per pin costs are a major cost driver in integrated circuits, plus the multiplexed approach used less silicon area, which reduces chip cost exponentially. Dram can mean several things: Dram (unit), an imperial unit of volume Dram, an imperial unit of weight or mass, see avoirdupois and apothecaries system Ottoman dram, a unit of weight, see dirhem Armenian dram, a monetary unit DRAM, a type of RAM Category: ...

The fear, uncertainty and doubt put up by the competition regarding address multiplexing was dispelled by the actual performance of the MK4096 which proved solid and robust in all types of computer memory designs. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is a sales or marketing strategy of disseminating negative (and vague) information on a competitors product. ...

In 1976 Mostek introduced their new POLY-II process, using it to produce the MK4027 (an improved version of the MK4096), and the new MK4116 16kb DRAM. From this point until the late 1970s, Mostek was a continual leader in the DRAM field, introducing 64k and larger sizes over time. At one time Mostek held 85% of the world market for DRAM, but massive Japanese competition starting in the late 1970s led to heavy losses in the early 1980s.

Microprocessor second sourcing deals

With this foundation in calculator chips and high volume DRAM production, Mostek garnished a reputation as a leading semiconductor "fabrication house" (fab) in the early 1970s. One of their more popular products was the Mostek 3870, which combined the two-chip Fairchild F8 (3850 + 3851) into a single chip, which they introduced in 1977. Fairchild later licensed the 3870 back from Mostek. They also produced ROM chips on demand, as well as the chips powering the Hammond electronic organ. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Fabrication plant. ... In computing, the F8 was an 8-bit microprocessor created by Fairchild Semiconductor. ... Read-only memory (usually known by its acronym, ROM) is a class of storage media used in computers and other electronic devices. ...

Mostek cut a deal with a startup, Zilog, in which Mostek provided fab resources to manufacture the Zilog microprocessors in return for second sourcing rights to the Zilog family. Mostek produced MK3880, the Zilog Z80 and a series of Z80 support chips, until Zilog built their own fab. The Z80 eventually became the most popular microcomputer family as it was used in millions of embedded devices as well as in computers using the de-facto standard CP/M operating system, such as the Osborne, Kaypro, and TRS-80 models. Zilog, often seen as ZiLOG, is a manufacturer of 8-bit, 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit CPUs, and is most famous for its Intel 8080-compatible Z80 series. ... In the electronics industry, a second source is a company that is licensed to manufacture and sell components originally designed by another company (the first source). ... One of the first Z80 microprocessors manufactured; the date stamp is from June 1976. ... CP/M was an operating system originally created for Intel 8080/85 based microcomputers by Gary Kildall of Digital Research, Inc. ... Osborne, along with Osbourne and Osborn, is an adaptation of Asbjørn, an old Norse (viking) name which is pronounced oosbern. ... The Kaypro Corporation Logo, circa 1982. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

When Vin Prothro, President, and L. J. Sevin, Chairman of the Board, discovered that Zilog had modified the recipe for Z80 chips to keep the yields low, thereby buying Zilog time to build their own fabs, Mostek sought a new microprocessor partner. They negotatiated a deal with Intel to gain second sourcing rights to the Intel 8086 microprocessor family and the future x86 designs. After Sevin left to become a venture capitalist (founding Compaq and many other companies), Prothro signed another pivotal deal with Motorola to gain the rights to the the Motorola 68000 and VME computers in 1989. The 8086[1] is a 16-bit microprocessor chip designed by Intel in 1978, which gave rise to the x86 architecture. ... Venture capital is a general term to describe financing for startup and early stage businesses as well as businesses in turn around situations. ... Compaq Computer Corporation is an American personal computer company founded in 1982, and now a brand name of Hewlett-Packard. ... The Motorola 68000 is a 32-bit CISC microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector). ... VMEbus is a computer bus standard originally developed for the Motorola 68000 line of CPUs, but later widely used for many applications and standardized by the IEC as ANSI/IEEE 1014-1987. ...

The Intel x86 microprocessors would go on to become the brains for the IBM PC, while the Motorola 68000 would become the heart of the Apple Computer line. Mostek had secured the rights to every microprocessor family that would be important for the next 25 years. IBM PC (IBM 5150) with keyboard and green screen monochrome monitor (IBM 5151), running MS-DOS 5. ... Apple Inc. ...

The decline in the face of Japan Inc

Mostek merged with United Technologies in 1979 to prevent an unfriendly takeover from Sprague at the 10th anniversary of the company's founding, when a large block of stock options controlled by Sprague stock became vested. United Technologies spent hundreds of millions trying to keep the company going during the various semiconductor and videogame crashes of the early 1980s, and eventually gave up and sold it to Thomson Semiconductor in 1985 for a mere $71 million. Unfortunately the DRAM marketplace was the beachhead where Japan Inc. would make their successful assault on the global semiconductor market, and Mostek was unable to match the Japanese quality levels or their extremely aggressive pricing. (Micron Technology would later bring suit to prove the Japanese memory manufacturers guilty of price dumping, but the ruling would be too late to save Mostek). United Technologies Corporation (UTC) (NYSE: UTX) is a major multinational corporation based in Hartford, Connecticut. ... ET for the Atari 2600 is considered by many to be emblematic of the crash along with the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man. ... STMicroelectronics is an international leading supplier of semiconductors. ... Micron Technology (Micron) NYSE: MU is a multinational company based in Boise, Idaho, USA, best known for producing many forms of semiconductor devices. ... In economics, dumping can refer to any kind of predatory pricing, and is by most definitions a form of price discrimination. ...

Thomson proceeded to lay off 80% of the workforce in an attempt to return the company to profitability. The next year they merged with SGS-ATES to become STMicroelectronics, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Although by this time most of Mostek's designs were no longer commercially viable, their DRAM patents turned out to be valuable and STM started a series of lawsuits to collect royalties. Between 1987 and 1993 STM made $450 million on these licenses alone. STMicroelectronics is an Italian-French manufacturer of electronics and semiconductors. ... STMicroelectronics is an international leading supplier of semiconductors. ... Coat of arms of the Canton of Geneva Coat of arms of the City of Geneva Geneva (French: Genève, German: Genf, Italian: Ginevra, Romansh Genevra, Spanish: Ginebra) is the second-most populous city in Switzerland (after Zurich), located where Lake Geneva (French: Lac de Genève or Lac L...

Mostek spinoffs

Jerry Rogers founded Cyrix in 1988 to capitalize on the Mostek second source agreement that allowed any 80X86 processor to be legally copied, which Intel attempted to stop via lawsuits. Eventually, after losing many legal battles, Intel simply changed the name of the 80586 to the Pentium, thereby ending the agreement. Cyrix was a CPU manufacturer that began in 1988 in Richardson, TX as a specialist supplier of high-performance math co-processors for 286 and 386 systems. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


  • Interview with Vincent Prothro, October 1992
  • Interview with Jerry Rogers, 1994
  • Museum of Natural History

External links

  • MK4116 DRAM (Smithsonian Chip Collection)
  • Mostek (Antique Tech)
  • MostekLives Mostek Alumni Connections, History

  Results from FactBites:
Mostek Electronics - Live Projects in electronics for engineering and computer science students (116 words)
Mostek - established in 1981 at Madras (Chennai), India - started its operations developing customised and standard application software packages.
Earlier, the main promoter of Mostek was into DIGITAL IC circuit design using TTL / CMOS and LSI chips, entering the world of
With over 100 man years of experience in the I.T. Industry, the promoters and consultants at Mostek have world class application and technical expertise in the areas of
Mostek (81 words)
Mostek was founded in 1969 by former employees of Texas Instruments.
Mostek's microprocessors were second source versions of the Zilog Z80 and the Fairchild F8.
United Technologies bought Mostek in 1983 and sold Mostek to SGS-ATES in 1985.
  More results at FactBites »



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