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Analog Angle Article

Companies pass on, but their names may linger, in our industry of change

Our industry is built on, and defined by, change. Change is good, change defines new markets ad applications, change makes it all possible for the electronics—and especially—IC world. One of the indications of change is when a well-known company, and its name, disappears. Often, the company name is closely associated with major industry developments, or even named for its founder and prime mover.

This happens relatively quietly: a few weeks ago, I saw that Marconi Communications, a remnant of the original company founded by radio pioneer and Nobel-prize winner Guglielmo Marconi, would be purchased by Telent plc and cease to exist (details here).

What are some other leadership names that are either gone or exist only a marketing brands? Westinghouse, Radio Corporation of America (RCA), Bell Labs, Western Electric, Magnavox, General Telephone and Electronics (GTE), and Heathkit are just few that come quickly to me; there are many, many more.

Are these disappearances good, bad, or irrelevant? No one can know, there is no controlled, repeatable experiment you can do to verify a hypothesis. And while I personally understand that companies and their names come and go, what really pains me is to see a once-revered and respected name, such as RCA, now reduced to a meaningless, hollow marketing nameplate, with no real company behind it. That's a shame, and it's an insult to what the name and company once represented.

Can you think of any other industry-leading names and companies that are now gone, or exist only as ghost-like brand names? Let me know!

Bill Schweber , Site Editor, Planet Analog
bschweber@cmp.com

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