Linear focuses on designing and manufacturing high-performance, long-lasting analog semiconductor chips, like amplifiers, voltage regulators and data converters, some of which are radiation hardened. They are used in telecommunications, automotive, industrial, military and aerospace applications.
Linear’s wealth-creation ranking stems from astute decisions about where to play in the semiconductor industry and from recognizing the importance of retaining its hard-to-come-by design talent. Linear will play where its chips comprise only a small part of total end-product price and are chosen based on performance, rather than price. Its where-to-play decisions also include assessing whether a chip it spends considerable resources to design will evolve rapidly (necessitating redesign) or will require state-of-the-art (expensive) fabrication lines.
Finally, Linear only competes where it can earn a strong return on investment. That said, its tendency not to bend on price does at times cause the loss of a promising high-volume opportunity, or a relationship that can lead to one.