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General Instrument

Company Pedigree


 Ascendant Companies Descendent Companies
Company Comments Company Comments
General Transistor General Transistor was bought by GI in 1960 and merged in their newly formed semiconductor division. Microchip Technology GI’s Microelectronics Division was spun-off as Microchip Technology, Inc (included the PIC family of microprocessors). in 1989.
Motorola GI spun-off its broadband products division as a company called Next Level Systems in July of 1997. In early 1998, Next Level changed its name back to General Instruments. In 2000, Motorola acquired GI.
Commscope GI’s cable products division was spun-off as Commscope in 1997.
General Semiconductor GI’s power semiconductor products were spun-off into General Semiconductor in 1997. In 1997 General Semiconductor acquired ITT Industries’ semiconductor business. General Semiconductor was later bought by Vishay Intertechnology in 2001

Company Overview

General Instrument was founded in 1939. GI was a manufacturer of transistors and diodes in the 1950’s and 1960’s. General Instrument produced logic chips in the 1960’s. GI created the PIC (Programmable Intelligent Computer) line of microprocessors in 1976. The microprocessors along with the rest of the Microelectronics Division were spun-off as Microchip Technology in 1989. in 1997, the remaining company, which is most noted for its work with advanced TV and broadband technologies, was restructured and split into three public companies.


This is an interesting branding effort GI used to make sure General Transistor customers knew that GT had become GI.  The General Transistor logo at left morphs into the GI logo on the right. This image can from a General Instrument Transistor box. This transition wrapped around two sides of the box.

Major Achievements

1966 – Early manufacturer of MOSFET integrated circuits.

Chip Identification


General Instrument Chips


CPU’s CP1600, LP8000
MCU’s PIC Microprocessors: 1650, 1654 1655 1656 1657 1658 1664 1671 1674 1684 1742 1744The PIC was later also made by Plessey Semiconductor under second source agreements
  Memory Devices
CCD Memory  
Bubble Memory  
  General Use Support Chips
Shift Registers  
 Integrated Circuit Logic Chips
MOSFET Chips with MEM prefix: MEM3021 (clock), MEM3020 (clock), MEM1005 (RST Flip Flop), MEM1002 (Dual 3-input NOR-gate), MEM1000 (Dual Full Adder)