Texas Instruments was founded by Cecil H. Green, J. Erik Jonsson, Eugene McDermott, and Patrick E. Haggerty in 1951. McDermott was one of the original founders of Geophysical Service in 1930. McDermott, Green, and Jonsson were GSI employees who purchased the company in 1941 on the day before Pearl Harbor was attacked. In November, 1945 Patrick Haggerty was hired as general manager of the Laboratory and Manufacturing (L&M) division. By 1951, the L&M division, with its defense contracts, was growing faster than GSI's Geophysical division. The company was reorganized and initially renamed General Instruments Inc. Because there already existed a firm named General Instrument, the company was rechristened Texas Instruments that same year. Geophysical Service Inc. became a subsidiary of Texas Instruments which it remained until early 1988, when most of GSI was sold to the Halliburton Company.
Texas Instruments can trace it roots back to 1930 when Dr. J. Clarence Karcher and Eugene McDermott founded Geophysical Service, a pioneering provider of seismic exploration services to the petroleum industry. In 1939 the company reorganized as Coronado Corp., an oil company with Geophysical Service Inc (GSI), now as a subsidiary. On December 6, 1941, McDermott along with three other GSI employees, J. Erik Jonsson, Cecil H. Green, and H.B. Peacock purchased GSI, During World War II, GSI built electronics for the U.S. Army Signal Corps and the U.S. Navy. After the war GSI continued to produce electronics. The rugged nature of equipment for the oil industry and of military equipment were similar and thus continued expansion into military contracts was a natural progression. In 1951 the company changed its name to Texas Instruments; GSI becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the new company.
An early success story for TI-GSI came in the 1950s when GSI was able (under a Top Secret government contract) to monitor the Soviet Union's underground nuclear weapons testing from outcrop bedrock found in Oklahoma.
Texas Instruments also continued to manufacture equipment for use in the seismic industry, and GSI continued to provide seismic services. After selling (and repurchasing) GSI, TI finally sold the company to Halliburton in 1988, at which point GSI ceased to exist as a separate entity.
TI was also active in the defense electronics market starting in 1942 with submarine detection equipment, building on the seismic exploration technology developed for the oil industry. This business was known over time as the Laboratory & Manufacturing Division, the Apparatus Division, the Equipment Group and the Defense Systems & Electronics Group (DSEG).
During the 1980s quality became a focus area in this business. During the early 80s a quality program was instituted. This included wide spread Juran training, as well as promoting Statistical process control, Taguchi methods and Design for Six Sigma. In the late 80s TI, along with Eastman Kodak and Allied Signal, began involvement with Motorola institutionalizing Motorola's Six Sigma methodology. Motorola, who originally develped the Six Sigma methodology, began this work in 1982. Note that TI's Six Sigma program began well before 1995 when GE started it's legendary Six Sigma policy. In 1992 the DSEG division of Texas Instruments' quality improvement efforts were rewarded by winning the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for manufacturing.
The following are some of the major programs of the former TI defense group
TI went on to produce side-looking radar systems, the first terrain following radar and surveillance radar systems for both the military and FAA. In 1967 TI demonstrated the first solid-state radar — Molecular Electronics for Radar Applications (MERA). In 1976 TI developed a microwave landing system prototype. In 1984 TI developed the first inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR). The first single-chip gallium arsenide radar module was developed. In 1991 the Military Microwave Integrated Circuit (MIMIC) program was initiated – a joint effort with Raytheon.
In 1956 TI began research on infrared technology that lead to several line scanner contracts and with the addition of a second scan mirror the invention of the first forward looking infrared (FLIR} in 1963 with production beginning in 1966. In 1972 TI invented the Common Module FLIR concept, greatly reducing cost and allowing reuse of common components.
In 1961 TI won the guidance and control system contract for the defense suppression AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missile. This lead later to the prime on the high-speed anti-radiation missile (AGM-88 HARM) development contact in 1974 and production in 1981. In 1969 TI won the (missile) Seeker contract. In 1986 TI won the Army FGM-148 Javelin fire-and-forget man portable anti-tank guided missile in a joint venture with Martin Marietta. In 1991 TI was awarded the AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)
Because of TI's dominance in military temperature range (silicon) transistors and integrated circuits (ICs), TI won contracts for the first IC-based computer for the U.S. Air Force in 1961 and for ICs for the Minuteman Missile the following year. In 1968 TI developed the data systems for Mariner Program. In 1991 TI won the F-22 Radar and Computer development contract.
Early in 1952 Texas Instruments purchased a patent license to produce (germainum) transistors from Western Electric Co., the manufacturing arm of AT&T, for $25 000. By the end of that year, it was already manufacturing and selling them. TI Vice President Patrick Haggerty was the visionary at TI who realized the future of this technology in the electronics industry. Later that year responding to an ad in the New York Times for a research director, Gordon K. Teal was hired by Haggerty. Teal who worked for Bell Labs at Murray Hill, NJ but was from Dallas desired to return to his native Texas.
Teal started at TI on January 1, 1953, bringing with him his expertise in growing semiconductor crystals. Haggerty had hired him to establish a team of scientists and engineers to keep TI at the leading edge of the new and rapidly expanding semiconductor industry. Teal's first assignment was to organize what became TI's Central Research Laboratories (CRL). Because of Teal's background, this new department was based on Bell Labs.
Among his new hires was Willis Adcock who joined TI early in 1953. Adcock, who like Teal was a physical chemist, began leading a small research group focused on the task of fabricating "grown-junction silicon single-crystal small-signal transistors.
In April 1954 TI created the first commericial silicon transistor and tested it on April 14, 1954. On May 10, 1954 at the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) National Conference on Airborne Electronics, in Dayton, Ohio, Teal revealed this achievement to the world when he announced, "Contrary to what my colleagues have told you about the bleak prospects for silicon transistors. I happen to have a few of them here in my pocket." Teal also presented a paper, "Some Recent Developments in Silicon and Germanium Materials and Devices," at this conference. At this point TI stood alone as the first volume manufacturer of silicon transistors.
In 1954, Texas Instruments designed and manufactured the first transistor radio. The Regency TR1 used germanium transistors, as silicon transistors were much more expensive at the time. This was an effort by Haggerty to increase market demand for transistors.
Employee Jack Kilby while working at TI's Central Research Labs invented the integrated circuit in 1958. Kilby recorded his initial ideas concerning the integrated circuit in July 1958 and successfully demonstrated the world's first working integrated circuit on September 12, 1958. Six months later Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor independently developed the integrated circuit with integrated interconnect, and is also considered an inventor of the integrated circuit. Kilby won the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics for his part of the invention of the integrated circuit. Noyce's chip, made at Fairchild, was made of silicon, while Kilby's chip was made of germanium.
The 7400 series of transistor-transistor logic (TTL) chips, developed by Texas Instruments in the 1960s, popularized the use of integrated circuits in computer logic. The military grade version of this was the 5400 series.
Texas Instruments invented the hand-held calculator in 1967 and the single-chip microcomputer in 1971, and was assigned the first patent on a single-chip microprocessor (invented by Gary Boone) on Sep 4, 1973. This was disputed by Gilbert Hyatt, formerly of the Micro Computer Company, in Aug 1990 when he was awarded a patent superseding TI's. This was over-turned on June 19, 1996 in favor of TI. (Note: Intel is usually given credit with Texas Instruments for the almost-simultaneous invention of the microprocessor.)
In 1978, Texas Instruments introduced the first single-chip LPC speech synthesizer. In 1976 TI began a feasibility study memory intensive applications for bubble memory then being developed. They soon focused on speech applications. This resulted in the development the TMC0280 one-chip Linear predictive coding (LPC) speech synthesizer which was the first time a single silicon chip had electronically replicated the human voice. This was used in several TI commercial products beginning with Speak & Spell which was introduced at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show in June 1978. In 2001 left the speech synthesis business, selling it to Sensory Inc. of Santa Clara, CA.
TI had two interesting problems with engineering and product development after the introduction of the semiconductor and the microprocessor. Firstly, most of the chemicals, machinery and technologies needed to create semiconductors did not exist so TI had to "invent" them. Secondly, the market was small for TI electronic components in the early days so TI had to "invent" uses to create the markets. For example TI created the first transistor radio for this purpose. Another example, TI developed the first wall mounted, computer controlled, home set-back thermostat in the late '70s but nobody would buy it mostly because of its cost. TI started an Industrial Controls division which built automated process control computers used in the paint and soup industry and was very successful. This business was eventually sold to Siemens AG in 1991. TI turned to military and government uses and had many electro-mechanical devices used in the Apollo rocket and moon lander.
TI continued to be active in the consumer electronics market through the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, Texas Instruments introduced the first single chip speech synthesizer and incorporated it in a product called the Speak & Spell, which was later immortalized in the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Several spinoffs, such as the Speak & Read and Speak & Math, were introduced soon thereafter.
In June 1981, TI entered the home computer market with the TI99/4, a competitor to such entries as the Apple II, Tandy/RadioShack TRS-80 and the later Atari 400/800 series, Commodore VIC-20 and Commodore 64. It discontinued the TI-99/4A (1981), the sequel to the 99/4, in late 1983 amidst an intense price war versus Commodore, Atari, and others. At the 1983 Winter CES TI showed models 99/2 and the Compact Computer 40 (CC-40), the latter aimed at professional users. The TI Professional (1983) ultimately joined the ranks of the many unsuccessful DOS and x86-based—but non-compatible—competitors to the IBM PC. It was a watershed system in one way - it introduced the VGA to mainstream computing. (Ironically, the founders of Compaq all came from TI.) The company for years successfully made and sold PC-compatible laptops before withdrawing from the market and selling its product line to Acer in 1997.
Texas Instruments was a major OEM of sensor, control, protection, and RFID products for the automotive, appliance, aircraft, and other industries. The S&C division was headquartered in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
TI announced on Monday, January 9, 2006 that Bain Capital LLC, a private equity firm, would purchase the Sensors & Controls division for $3.0 billion in cash. The RFID portion of the division remained part of TI, transferring to the Application Specific Products business unit of the Semiconductor division. The sale was completed in the first half of 2006, with the newly formed independent company taking on the name Sensata Technologies. Sensata Technologies is now under management by a Malay Director, Datin Salina Binti Hj Ahmad.
Semiconductor products account for approximately 96 percent of TI's revenues. TI has a market leading position in many different product areas, including digital signal processors in the TMS320 series, high speed digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters, power management solutions, and high performance analog circuits. Wireless communications has been a primary focus for TI, with around 50 percent of all cellular phones sold world-wide containing TI chips. TI also manufactures other semiconductor products, ranging from application-specific integrated circuits to microcontrollers.
The Wireless Terminal Business Unit (WTBU) of the Semiconductor division was, until 2007 when it was superseded by Qualcomm, the world's largest supplier of wireless chipsets. Mobile Connectivity Solutions (MCS), located in Israel (TIIL) is also part of WTBU, developing chips for Bluetooth and WLAN. WTBU does also have sites in Bangalore (TII), India, Nice (TIF), France and Aalborg, Denmark (TIDK) doing the reference design.
Mixed Signal Automotive is a business unit within High Volume Analog and Logic SBE that manufactures mixed signal and analog solutions for automotive applications.
Another business unit of the Semiconductor division called Application Specific Products (ASP) develops specific products that cater to a broad range of DSP applications, such as digital still cameras, cable modems, Voice over IP (VOIP), streaming media, speech compression and recognition, wireless LAN and gateway products (residential and central office), and RFID.
TI makes a broad range of digital signal processors and a suite of tools called eXpressDSP, used to develop applications on these chips.
TMS320C33, TMS320C3x, TMS320C4x, TMS320C5x and TMS320C8x - multiprocessor dsp.
Most of the older DSPs are still available through TI's military dsp site
TI has the largest market share in the analog semiconductor industry which has an estimated market TAM exceeding US$37 Billion. TI is reported to have 14% of the market, leading ahead of competitors ST Microelectronics, Infineon and Philips according to latest reports from Gartner.
Texas Instruments is also notable for its calculator range, the TI-30 being one of the most popular early calculators. TI has also developed a line of graphing calculators, the first being the TI-81, and most popular being the TI-83 Plus (with the TI-84 Plus being an updated equivalent). TI is often seen as the competitor to Hewlett-Packard in this regard, with fierce loyalties often arising.
In the 1990s, with the advent of TI's graphing calculator series, programming became popular among some students. The TI-8x series of calculators (beginning with the TI-81) came with a built-in BASIC interpreter, through which simple programs could be created. The TI-85 was the first TI calculator to allow assembly programming (via a shell called "ZShell"), and the TI-83 was the first in the series to receive native assembly. While the earlier BASIC programs were relatively simple applications or small games, the modern assembly-based programs rival what one might find on a Game Boy or PDA.
Around the same time that these programs were first being written, personal web pages were becoming popular (through services such as Angelfire and GeoCities), and programmers began creating websites to host their work, along with tutorials and other calculator-relevant information. This led to the formation of TI calculator webrings, and eventually a few large communities, including the now-defunct TI-Files, and active ticalc.org Ticalc.org is now seen as the authoritative source for programming for TI calculators, and at the site, one can find thousands of applications (including games, educational programs, and even simple operating environments), programming tutorials, calculator news, and discussion forums, among other things.
TI graphing calculators generally fall into two distinct groups, those powered by the Zilog Z80 and those running on the Motorola 68000 series. Although a derivative of the Z80 was in the original Game Boy, the 68000 is far more powerful, and therefore better suited for gaming and processor intensive applications. The 68K calculators, which include the TI-89/Titanium, TI-92/Plus, and Voyage 200, are generally thought of more highly among TI community members than the Z80s. However, the newest of the Z80 series, the TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, are becoming very popular with students new to the product line.
A recent development are the models of the TI-Nspire family, which reached the market in fall 2007. These models integrate seamlessly various mathematical software environments and are available as handhelds as well as software.
There is an ongoing debate among financial calculator fans as to whether the popular TI BA II Plus is superior to the iconic Hewlett Packard HP-12C from 1981. The TI BA II Plus continues to maintain popularity due to its simple and intuitive layout compared to the HP 12c (which uses reverse polish notation). The TI BA II Plus is the only calculator permissible in the Chartered Financial Analyst exams besides the HP-12C.
In 2007, Texas Instruments was awarded the Manufacturer of the Year for Global Supply Chain Excellence by World Trade magazine.