Despite the downturn in their bottom line, Intel, I.B.M. and Texas Instruments, among others, are making billion dollar investments in more efficient manufacturing facilities and in the research and development of more sophisticated computer chips. These technology giants all have expressed their confidence in the economic upturn by putting their money where their mouths are, since they believe there will be a sizeable growth in the purchase of computers, consumer electronic goods, and even in telecommunications equipment. They also are investing because they have learned from mistakes of the past that not investing in their companies during economic downturns can spell obsolescence just as quickly as the economy rebounds.
Intel is investing $5 billion this year, Texas Instruments is investing $4 billion to build a new plant in Dallas, Texas, while I.B.M. is investing $12 billion over a several year period to upgrade and enlarge its eastern New York state semiconductor manufacturing facility. The investments they hope to make back are in the form of savings in things such as longer battery life, more transistors per electronic chip, and being able to use larger wafers to make more chips, and they are also anticipating increasing sales in the consumer electronics market. The wireless communications arena appears to be the next untapped market in the U.S. While the U.S. lags behind other countries in cell phone technology advances, once cell phone wireless Internet access becomes more enabled and consumer interest catches on, the electronics companies want to be ready to ride the next technology wave. It appears they will be ready.