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Technological Transformations

The Rise of a New Business Infrastructure

IN 1969, a young electrical engineer named Ted Hoff had a particularly elegant idea. Hoff had recently joined the Intel Corporation, a fledgling semiconductor company in Santa Clara, California, and had been assigned to a project to produce a set of twelve microchips for a new calculator being developed by the Japanese electronics company Busicom. Each chip would be dedicated to a different function: One would perform the calculations, one would control the keypad, one would display images on the screen, one would handle the printing, and so on. It was a tricky assignment—some of the chips would need to contain as many as five thousand transistors, and all ...

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