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<p>It's a way of making sure that agents are doing more valuable things, like selling additional products,” says Eric Sall, senior vice president of marketing, iPhrase (Cambridge, MA). You take away the low-value interactions so they have more time for the high-value ones.”</p>

The report notes that salary differentials could be in part due to factors that include the likelihood that women were more likely than men to be working in educational institutions, social science occupations, to be working in non-managerial positions, and to have less experience.

SAN FRANCISCO — In a sign that the IC market is finally picking up, National Semiconductor Corp. said it is increasing its wafer-fab capacity to meet unexpected demand in chip orders, especially from LG Electronics, Samsung, and other systems houses in Asia.

National's overall fab utilization rate stood in the 40% range two quarters ago, but the company is now boosting its internal production to the upper 50% level to meet demand in the marketplace, said Don Macleod, chief operating officer at Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker.

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We're ramping up our wafer and test capacity,” Macleod said. We're running our fabs in the high 50% range,” he said during a presentation at a technology conference here on Tuesday. The conference is sponsored by Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.

The National executive was quick to point out that the current IC downturn is far from over, but he also noted that overall chip demand is picking up while the inventory glut is easing in the marketplace.

He added that there is an inventory replenishment” cycle under way in the market right now, especially in the flat-panel display, wireless, and other sectors. We think our inventories are too low,” he said.

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At the same time, there is a major shift taking place among National's customer base. Two years ago, National realized only 30% of its sales from Asia. Now, 45% of our orders are coming out of Asia,” he said.

In a brief interview with SBN after the presentation, Macleod surprised some observers by saying that South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is National's largest customer worldwide. Another Korean giant, LG Electronics Inc., is National's second largest customer, Macleod said.

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Samsung and LG, which are major players in the handset market, are using National's popular phase-lock loop (PLL) and other wireless products, he said. Samsung, in particular, is a major user of National's display and consumer ICs, he added.

National is also seeing growth among handset makers in Japan and Europe. The company's four-chip GSM solution is being used in a handset from the Ericsson-Sony team. And for the first time, National's analog chips are moving into Nokia's handset lines, he added.

Typical pricing for the CMD4D06 is 47 cents each in quantities of 10,000. Samples can be ordered from Sumida's Web site. Lead time is six to eight weeks.

Call (847) 545-6700 www.sumidaamerica.comEETInfo No.631

ARC International has named its vice-president of worldwide engineering as Bernard Glasauer.

The company said it would not replace its chief technology officer Keith Diefendorff, who defected to MIPS Technologies at the beginning of the year, but would appoint a head of engineering instead, based in the US.

In common with ARC CEO Mike Gulett and a number of other members of the company's management team, Glasauer joins from GlobespanVirata, having been vice-president of operations at Virata before and after the merger with US-based Globespan. Before joining Virata in 1999, he was vice-president of engineering at Cypress Semiconductor.