A big part of the problem is the recession. Consumer electronics/PC's have been a big part of the semiconductor revenue pie. Those slices of the pie are going to suck for a while until wistful consumer spending resumes (if it does).
Bottom line: Too many suppliers of semiconductors competing and pushing the margins down. It will stay that way until half of the suppliers either die off, get merged, or there's an economic boom (fat chance!).
.. and the recession happened because too many copycats copied other copypcats, instead of developing truly innovative products that would fly off the shelves. Look at most semiconductor companies, instead of competing in inventing new wonderful products, pretty much the only competition is in the area of reducing costs, screwing employees out of their salaries and bonuses, and shipping operations overseas or to low-rent areas in the US. Maxim is no exception, although for a while they fooled a lot of people with their "industry firsts" in spite of a shockingly small number of patents, virtually no presence at professional conferences, and very few papers published in technical journals. The recession is long overdue, and we deserve it for sucking up to the likes of Jack Gifford, petty criminals riding the high-tech wave.
Fameisbad...what can I say. You nailed it. Yes copycats happen because once a new market is "discovered" everyone else jumps in. This is a risk-free trick but the price you'll pay is margin erosion. Innovation has come to a standstill as everone copies everyone elses' products. Kinda boring. Ahh...I long for the good ole days with Dobkin at National! :-)