There have been very few industries that have organized themselves as quickly or as well as the computer hardware industry known as high tech. Starting in the 1970’s, the industry moved from having a few giant corporations that had centralized operations to one that was largely made up of component manufacturers that created custom boards and chips for their clients.
We need a Brain!
One of the first companies to break out of the pack when it came to custom design work was Intel. They took a Hitachi customer request and used the specification to create a custom CPU that became the standard for the PC revolution. It didn’t take long after that for the ecosystem that was growing around custom components to spur thought amongst the entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs- who used their vision to create the modern desktop computer.
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The Internet Comes Alive
By the time the early 90’s rolled around, the market for PCB boards and other computer components had taken off. The commercialization of the Internet created a new paradigm that spurred demand even more. Routers and networking equipment suddenly became the darlings of Wall Street and the software industry took off as well. During the 1990’s, the process of upgrading manufacturing to create smaller and more efficient form factors continued a race among manufacturers that had started in the 1980’s.
Market Crash, Space Junk
At the turn of this century, the Internet bubble burst, taking with it many software firms and their hardware suppliers. For a few years there was a consolidation among companies that were creating components and firms like Cisco even stopped production on some of their newer models in order to wait for the backlog of already manufactured routers to find its way to customers. Americans who were excited to take advantage of the advances in technology that led to high quality products were taken aback when organizations like NASA still managed to crash some Mars probes due to quality issues.
Coming Out of the Great Recession
There was another economic reset after the financial meltdown a few years ago that didn’t affect software and hardware companies that much because they had already right-sized in order to face the economic challenges of the past. Nonetheless, companies like Streamline Circuits took this opportunity to continue to evolve both their technology and their processes in order to meet future demand.
The tech industry has always been forward-thinking and innovative because it has to be in order to compete. Throughout its history, companies that stay abreast of their markets and evolve to make tech manufacturers one of the strongest sectors in the US economy.