The 2005 Texas Instruments retiree Big Event celebrated the company's first 75 years and offered a perspective into what's happening at TI today. Ed Hassler, TI Alumni Association (TIAA) president, welcomed about 800 retirees, spouses, TI volunteers and exhibitors who gathered Nov. 9 at Market Hall in Dallas. Attendees enjoyed fellowship, a buffet luncheon and a presentation by Ron Slaymaker, TI vice president for Investor Relations.
Banners commemorated the TI 75th anniversary. The recorded music was by Bandpass, whose members are in TI Worldwide Marketing. The book "Engineering the World:Stories from the First 75 Years of Texas Instruments" was available for purchase at the Big Event.
Max Post, leader of the retiree team that researched the book, announced that TI's historical archives would be contributed to the DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University. Max said Phil Ritter, TI senior vice president, has been working with SMU to find a permanent place where the archives can be preserved and will be accessible to researchers. Max thanked active TIer Phil Bogan for representing TI on the history book project. Phil was honored with lifetime TIAA membership for the excellent relationship he built up with retirees.
Ron Slaymaker said TI's celebration of its 75th anniversary is “an incredible accomplishment for a technology company, especially one that is viewed in the forefront of its field yet today.” Ron praised retirees for their volunteer community contributions and for “capturing our legacy” on the TI 75th anniversary history project. He said, “We're grateful that many of you opened up your memories and experiences to help create this book. Many more spent a lot of time and effort in the research process.” Today, growth in electronics markets is undergoing a dramatic shift, Ron said. The cell phone now tops the personal computers as the hottest electronics product. “Almost 800 million cell phones will be sold this year - more than four times the unit volume of PCs,” he said. Other important electronics products include portable digital music players, or iPods, and digital or high-definition television (HDTV).
“The good news is that TI is right in front of all of these growth trends,” he said. “Digital signal processing and analog are the enabling semiconductor technologies behind these communications and entertainment products.” In the first 25 years of the digital signal processing (DSP) industry, voice communication products were probably the single most important driver of its growth, but in the years ahead, TI believes imaging and video could be the most important applications. Opportunity abounds in high performance analog, given its solid growth and high profitability. Profit margins are above the corporate average. Thus, the bottom line impact is even more significant for TI.
Wireless is a market where TI has combined capabilities in both DSP and analog technologies to put together system-level solutions. These make cell phones more powerful and also lower cost. With customers that include Nokia, Motorola and a host of others, TI is engaged with the most important players in the industry. More than half the phones that ship today use TI DSP technology relationship he built up with retirees. The cell phone market now is much different from in the ?past, when the cell phone was simply about making phone calls. Then, industry was focused primarily on making the phones smaller, battery life longer and reducing cost, not on adding new functions. Today, the cell phone is becoming an electronic platform, taking on new applications that include cameras, e-mail, gaming and video recording. The rate of technology innovation in cell phones is higher than it's ever been before. As handset pricing continues to move down, new subscribers in emerging countries - who never have been able to afford any kind of phone service - will increasingly be buying cell phones.
The digital light processing (DLP) product line is well on its way to almost $1 billion in annual revenue. TI is addressing the markets for business projectors, digital cinema and big-screen high-definition television. “As the TV industry converts to digital, this represents the biggest change since television went from black and white to color many decades ago,” Ron said. W inning the display market won't be easy. Other new display technologies, including plasma and liquid crystal display (LCD), have equally ambitious plans. DLP commercials are running on television during NFL football games and NASCAR races because NFL and NASCAR fans are the demographic of the typical big-screen TV buyer. Likewise, TI sponsors the NASCAR race car owned by Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach.
The TI commitment to manufacturing technology is shown by the company's investment in the new 300-mm Richardson wafer fab (RFAB) being completed on Renner Rd. “This will be the largest fab TI has anywhere in the world and will manufacture our most advanced technologies,” Ron said. As to stock performance, Ron said, “We have never been able to forecast industry cycles. TI simply has established the operational flexibility that we hope will enable TI to gain market share, regardless of the economy and regardless of industry cycles.”
Regarding TI's ability to sustain its position in the increasingly competitive wireless market, Ron said, “We simply stay focused on execution and delivering what our customers need.