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Updated: May 27th, 2009 10:17 AM CDT

National Semiconductor Celebrates 50 Years of Industry Leadership

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via PRNewswire

SANTA CLARA, Calif. , May 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today, National Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: NSM) is celebrating its 50th anniversary. National's story is one intricately woven into the history of the high-tech industry. When the company was founded, computers were the size of buildings, telephones were wired to walls, televisions were boxes filled with tubes and humans had not yet left the earth's atmosphere. National's many technological innovations have shaped the industry and left their mark on the world.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090527/SF22817)

National was founded in 1959, the same year the integrated circuit (IC) was created. In 1966, National moved the company's headquarters to a large plot of land in Santa Clara, California , that was to become known as "Silicon Valley." Known for its world-class manufacturing and logistics, product reliability, and innovative technology, National has had many notable "industry firsts" in the last 50 years.

The Beginning of the Analog Industry

The analog industry was started by pioneering engineers such as National's Bob Widlar . In 1967, National developed the first integrated voltage regulator, the LM100. National went on to develop the industry's first modern operational amplifier (LM101), which is still in use today. National developed the first band-gap voltage reference (LM113) and the first low-dropout (LDO) regulator (LM2930).

Product advancement has always been closely linked to innovation in packaging and fabrication processes. National first developed the Epoxy B molding compound that allowed plastic packaging to block moisture - a packaging leap that was soon adopted by the rest of the industry. National continues to lead the industry in the development of proprietary, analog-specific processes such as VIP (Vertically Integrated PNP) and ABCD (Analog-Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS).

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