Saturday, September 12, 2009

Transistor errors

In Paths of innovation: technological change in 20th century America by David C. Mowery and Nathan Rosenberg, one has the assertion on page 125 that the 1956 consent decree led AT&T/Bell to license its transistor technology at nominal fees. In fact, AT&T was licensing at nominal fees BEFORE 1956 and BEFORE the consent decree.

At page 126, the authors credit ONLY Jack Kilby as the inventor of the integrated circuit. While that is better than Mark Lemley crediting Gary Boone as the inventor, Noyce did have a role (and recall who won the legal case).

As an additional matter, Bell was making plenty of point-contact transistors for its own internal purposes.

Rosenberg previously relied on a non-existent 1947 NYT article to assert (wrongly) that the inventors of the transistor thought it was only good for hearing aids. Lemley then cited to Rosenberg.

Sometimes inventors do understand the significance of their invention!


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