A Guess on What Might be National Semiconductor's Strategy
This is all a guess but read on if you’re curious: National’s brilliant CEO might have decided that they no longer want to develop off-the-shelf or multi-purpose switchers or other off-the-shelf power management ICs. Once again, the same CEO might have decided that analog is maybe not the best area for the company to focus on. So their plan might now to become a complete-solution company, meaning they literally might be trying to offer fully boxed solutions (including solutions that work off the wall-supply). They also might be targeting complete lighting solutions, again for off-the-line apps and also for automotive-lighting/battery-charging apps and street/home-lighting apps; both of which tend to be high voltage applications. They also might be going after complete solutions for solar power apps and fully integrated semi-custom regulators (inductor & caps integrated in one high-power package with all 6 or 9 pins on one side). Along with that master plan, they might feel that digital power is a better work-horse for many of their target applications and that they have enough analog IP developed in order to fill-in the blanks when implementing their new solutions; hence it might explain their lack of interest in keeping analog IC design engineers on their payroll. They now might be looking to recruit a large number of application engineers; whom they currently might be in love with. And they might feel that those engineers in conjunction with their marketing folks can get all the necessary design work done. In short, National might become a marketing-driven applications company. Their CEO might want to make the company name a known "household" or “contractor” name, sort of like Apple is to the average consumer or Denso is to the automotive field. And all this might be a result of their seemingly failed battle against the many "little" fabless analog IC companies such as MPS. But, again, all this is a guess, a well educated guess!