The actual headline we saw had a slightly different wording, but the message was the same, and it was enough to stop us in our tracks as we hurried through the San Francisco airport one Sunday in early November. The startling page-one story in the San Jose Mercury News reported that the U.S. semiconductor industry, surpassed by the Japanese back in 1985, is about to regain global supremacy. Surely, we thought, this must be the hottest business story of the year. We were dying to see how the national press would play the news of the first major industry successfully fighting back against the Japanese. So we waited . . . and waited. . . .
As I write, it has been a month since the Mercury News broke the story, and aside from a brief article on page 37 of a recent issue of the Boston Globe and one in the Washington Post filed by its Tokyo bureau, we're still waiting. What gives? All I can say is that if the Mercury News headline had read, "U.S. Surrenders Again -- Japanese Gain Control of Personal-Computer Market," we wouldn't be sitting here waiting.* * *