Olivetti and the Rise and Fall of Computer Manufacturing in Italy

Hey, we’re a pioneer in computing, building machines comparable in technology to those of the U.S. and Britain. Let’s go and buy a U.S. typewriter company (Underwood) for US$ 92 million in 1959 (around US$ 1 billion today) with an obsolete line of mechanical typewriters being eaten alive by IBM and Remington Rand’s electric typewriters!


The head of the 4004 effort at Intel and later CEO of Zilog and Synaptics came from Olivetti

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Federico Faggin has had a series of remarkable careers. He has written a wonderful book, Silicon: From the Invention of the Microprocessor to the New Science of Consciousness, describing his adventures at Olivetti, Fairchild, Intel, Zilog, Synaptics, and more recently, searching for a theory of consciousness. I met him in the 1970s when we used to attend the IEEE Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop every year, and his accounts of what really happened in the early years at Intel and Zilog were always enlightening.

In the post here on 2021-11-17, “Fifty Years Ago—Intel 4004: The First Commercial Microprocessor” there is a video from the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the 4004 with Ted Hoff and Federico Faggin recounting the origin of that chip.