Friday, April 23, 2021

#AtoZChallenge - Texas Instruments

This month, each day, except the four Sundays, I will be blogging about interesting features associated with Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, as part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

This Dallas, Texas-headquartered semiconductor firm is just one of the big electronics and IT companies in the world that have offices here. 

But I thought of including it in this series because of not just the alphabet but it is also the first multinational company to set up a software division in India, way back in 1985 in Bengaluru. 

Many think this set the pace for the city specifically and India in general to become an information technology powerhouse.

Apparently, there was a lot of criticism regarding TI's decision to set up a full-fledged software R&D centre in India in those times when the nation's political, economic, social landscape didn't even have the faintest resemblance to what it is today.

One of those abiding images from those days is of everything from satellite dishes to servers being transported to TI's Bangalore office in bullock carts! (Photo below) The satellite dish helped the company to have a 24-hour communication network with its Dallas headquarters, something inconceivable in those days.

Photo courtesy: Deccan Herald

In an interview with The Times of India in 2010, the silver jubilee of TI coming to India, Bobby Mitra, then president and managing director, who was among the first recruits, on being asked why the firm chose Bangalore, said: 

One reason was the science and engineering institutions. We wanted to collaborate with public sector units which were the important companies of the time. ... They were building electronic systems. We worked very closely with them and many of them have over time launched very sophisticated and innovative systems.

(By the way, in 1991 -- a couple of years after the Berlin Wall was broken down and the USSR crumbled -- India, which then had a minority centre-left Congress government, in a pathbreaking move, allowed large-scale privatisation of the economy.)

After Texas Instruments came in, a slew of multinational companies followed suit. Now of course every big IT company in the world has an office in India, and some of them are the biggest outside their home country.

(Tomorrow, we visit one of the oldest localities in Bengaluru, also the area I lived in first when I moved into the city in 1999).

9 comments:

  1. Hari Om
    It has helped India to be taken seriously as a country of the 21st century - yet it still has such a long way to go, internally... YAM xx
    (Hope you remain safe and well - we are seeing most disturbing reports re COVID coming out of India)

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  2. That bullock cart picture is a gem. How far has Bangalore/ sorry Bengaluru come--wow!

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  3. That's some amazing history. And I, too, appreciate the pictures.

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  4. That photo really shows the transformation that the city has undergone.Fantastic post!

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  5. Glad you wrote about Texas Instruments. I was reading about TI 2 weeks ago. They are the one who designed and manufactured the first transistor radio. They are the first one in several manufactured items.

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  6. A good and interesting read. Thanks.

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  7. I really like the juxtaposition of bringing in high tech stuff on low tech beasts of burden.

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  8. That's very cool. I didn't realize it all started in 1985. What a history.

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  9. Hi Pradeep - I had one of the very earliest Texas calculators - in fact I had it until recently ... I hadn't realised the history of it though.

    But I do find the geographical positioning of Bangalore as the major technological centre so interesting after reading 'my book' The Great Arc by John Keay ... I now have a reference book to refer to for information on India ... strange but true. Equally delighted to read about TI and the bullock carts - amazing ... cheers Hilary

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