Texas Instruments buys National Semiconductor

Surprise news this morning: Texas Instruments is buying National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion.  National is strong in power and analog chips. Many of the jellybean op amps and voltage regulators we have all used came from National, whether directly or via copies sold by other companies.  TI is strong in just about everything: general analog, specialty and high-performance analog, digital signal processing, logic, microcontrollers, and so on.

This probably will not have much impact on electronic designers, whether professional or hobbyist. The National name will likely disappear from the catalogs, but TI has promised not to discontinue any National part numbers in the transition. TI’s analog group has a tradition of almost never discontinuing part numbers, so this fits. TI has a history of smooth integration of purchases, such as Burr-Brown back in the 90’s, so it is likely there will be few hiccups with this one.

National has a long and venerable history. They have struggled to find a solid identity in recent years, but it will be sad to see them go. Over the years, I have studied many a National databook and app note as I strove to learn about digital design and, later, analog. All the same, if National has to go, it is better to be acquired by a powerhouse like TI than to whither away.