Dec 11, 2013

Bob Noyce, meet Bob Widlar.

The µA702 is credited as being the first true integrated circuit op amp.  It was developed in secrecy by Bob Widlar and Dave Talbert.  Word got out and eventually Fairchild management decided to support it.  Aware of Texas Instruments' success in analog circuits for the Minuteman II missile program, Bob Noyce wanted to pursue that market.

According to Bo Lojek, Bob Noyce and Tom Bay came to see Widlar about it in May, 1964.  Noyce and Bay, however, had never met Widlar.  Of course, Widlar was aware of who they were.  Bay said Fairchild was going to start a marketing campaign for the part and needed a few things from him.  Widlar said, "what do you mean?"  "We are going to announce the µA702 and we are going to sell it," replied Bay.  Widlar knew it had yield issues and he wasn't done yet.  But this was top management, and he had just met them.  "Fuck You!" Widlar said.

"You are not going to sell these things because you do not know how to sell them.  You guys do not know anything about this part.  Nobody inside this company knows anything about it.  If I give this to you, you will just screw up my work."

Eventually, he relented and the rest is history.

NOTES
History of Semiconductor Engineering, Bo Lojek

Photo, EDN.com and Paul Rako's blog post.

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