n 1978, 70% of all the world’s lithography equipment came from an American supplier. As late as 1982, Americans still held 62% of the market.
Seven years later in 1989, Japanese firms held 70% share of the market – led by their two lithography giants: Canon and Nikon. The American once-market leaders, rapidly declining. One loses $100 million by 1986. The other withdraws from the market entirely by 1989.
The dominance of the Japanese lithography industry stunned the semiconductor world. Americans back home spilled gallons of ink, trying to figure out where it all went wrong. The answer, as always, is not what you might have expected.
In this video, a prequel to my ASML video, we are going to look at Japan’s famous cross-industry effort to develop an indigenous semiconductor industry and conquer the global lithography market on the side.