A Big Chipmaker Gets Smaller

For years, stock analysts complained that National Semiconductor was too big for its britches. The $1.7 billion Silicon Valley pioneer finally seems to be responding. New CEO Gilbert Amelio announced a $149 million write-off in the fiscal first quarter to shut down certain manufacturing operations.

Analysts are hoping National will begin chucking money-losing commodity businesses such as memory chips and general-purpose microprocessors and focus on highly profitable specialty products such as chips for telecommunications networks. The company lost $151 million last year.

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