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Ti Is Moving Up In The World

Four years ago, Texas Instruments Inc. was the dinosaur of the semiconductor industry. The company that invented the integrated circuit in 1958 had failed to keep pace with the technological revolution sweeping the chip industry. During the 1980s, the company's share of the chip market plummeted to 5% from 30%. Worse, TI slipped into the red in 1989, with the company posting a loss of $39 million.

Nowadays, though, TI is looking a lot healthier. The Dallas-based company has spent the past few years drastically overhauling its strategy and remaking its culture. The inventor of the digital watch and an early entrant into personal computers, TI has scrapped its plans to build a billion-dollar consumer business. Instead, it's focusing on high-tech corporate clients. And this traditional supplier of cheap, off-the-shelf memory chips is moving upscale. The company now gets almost 50% of its revenues from high-margin products such as microprocessors and customized chips, compared with just 25% or so in 1988.