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Texas Instruments was founded by Cecil H. Green, J. Erik Jonsson, Eugene McDermott, and Patrick E. Haggerty in 1947. It was set up by its parent company Geophysical Service Incorporated (GSI) to manufacture the newly invented transistor. McDermott was one of the original founders of Geophysical Service in 1930. McDermott, Green, and Jonsson were GSI employees who purchased the company in 1941 on the day before Pearl Harbor was attacked. In November, 1945, Patrick Haggerty was hired as general manager of the Laboratory and Manufacturing (L&M) division. By 1951, the L&M division, with its defense contracts, was growing faster than GSI's Geophysical division. The company was reorganized and initially renamed General Instruments Inc. Because there already existed a firm named General Instrument, the company was rechristened Texas Instruments that same year. Geophysical Service Inc. became a subsidiary of Texas Instruments which it remained until early 1988, when most of GSI was sold to the Halliburton Company.
In 1978, Texas Instruments introduced the first single-chip LPC speech synthesizer. In 1976 TI began a feasibility study memory intensive applications for bubble memory then being developed. They soon focused on speech applications. This resulted in the development the TMC0280 one-chip Linear predictive coding (LPC) speech synthesizer which was the first time a single silicon chip had electronically replicated the human voice. This was used in several TI commercial products beginning with Speak & Spell which was introduced at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show in June 1978. In 2001 TI left the speech synthesis business, selling it to Sensory Inc. of Santa Clara, CA.
TI continued to be active in the consumer electronics market through the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, Texas Instruments introduced the first single chip speech synthesizer and incorporated it in a product called Speak & Spell, which was later immortalized in the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Several spinoffs, such as the Speak & Read and Speak & Math, were introduced soon thereafter.
In 1979, TI entered the home computer market with the TI99/4, a competitor to such entries as the Apple II, Tandy/RadioShack TRS-80 and the later Atari 400/800 series, Commodore VIC-20 and Commodore 64. It discontinued the TI-99/4A (1981), the sequel to the 99/4, in late 1983 amidst an intense price war waged primarily against Commodore. At the 1983 Winter CES, TI showed models 99/2 and the Compact Computer 40 (CC-40), the latter aimed at professional users. The TI Professional (1983) ultimately joined the ranks of the many unsuccessful DOS and x86-based—but non-compatible—competitors to the IBM PC. (The founders of Compaq, an early leader in PC compatibles, all came from TI.) The company for years successfully made and sold PC-compatible laptops before withdrawing from the market and selling its product line to Acer in 1997.