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Rockwell developed a desktop calculator based on a MOSFET chip for use by its engineers. In 1967 Rockwell set up its own manufacturing plant to produce them, starting what would become Rockwell Semiconductor. One of its major successes came in the early 1990s when it introduced the first low-cost 14.4 kbit/s modem chip set, which was used in a huge number of modems.

Rockwell Microelectronics Division developed 4800bps/9600bps IC modems in the 1960s. In 1968 the company entered the commercial modem business, when the first modem market was fax machines. In 1971 it developed the first 4800bps LST modems. The Rockwell International Microelectronics Division was created in 1971 to fuel the development of microprocessor technology and computer products. In 1977 it was renamed the Electronic Devices Division and became the largest producer of the R6502 microprocessor. In 1978 it began shipping high-speed OEM (original equipment manufacturer) modems (4800bps and 9600bps) to facsimile (fax) manufacturers.

The division was renamed Semiconductor Products Division in 1982. During the 1980s it introduced a series of OEM fax, data, and VLSI modems and in 1985 began its fax-modem chipset business that it would subsequently dominate. It also helped create the analog modem market for desktop computers. In 1988 it opened its European Design Center in Sophia Antipolis, France.

In 1990 the division was again renamed, this time as the Digital Communications Division, with headquarters in Newport Beach, California, as part of Rockwell International’s reorganization of its semiconductor and communications business. It opened its Japanese Design Center in Tokyo, Japan, and introduced the world’s first integrated, low-speed data and fax modem as well as the first high-speed, single-device fax modem operating at 14,400bps transmission.

1998: Rockwell International announces it will spin off Rockwell Semiconductor Systems into a new company, Conexant Systems, Inc. In January 1999 Conexant Systems, Inc. was launched as an independent entity after Rockwell International Corp. completed the spinoff of Rockwell Semiconductor Systems to shareholders.

Conexant is the world’s largest independent company focused exclusively on providing semiconductor system solutions for communications electronics. With revenues of approximately $1.5 billion, Conexant has aligned its business to target the fastest-growing markets of the worldwide communications marketplace. The company’s solutions are found in the wireline voice and data products that power the Internet, cordless and cellular wireless telephony systems, personal imaging communications equipment, and emerging cable and wireless broadband networks.


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