Last updated
Zilog, Inc.
ISIN US9895243015  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Industry Semiconductors
Founder Federico Faggin
Headquarters Milpitas, California, [1]
United States
Key people
Federico Faggin
Chairman of the Board
Darin G. Billerbeck
President CEO Director
RevenueIncrease2.svg$82 million (2007)
Decrease2.svg$67.2 million (2008)
Decrease2.svg$36.2 Million (2009)
Decrease2.svg$18.39 million (2008)
Increase2.svg $3.18 million (2008)
Number of employees
174 [2] (March 2009), 1010 (parent) [3] March 2013
Parent Littelfuse
Website Zilog.com

Zilog, Inc. is an American manufacturer of 8-bit and 16-bit microcontrollers. Its most famous product is the Z80 series of 8-bit microprocessors that were compatible with the Intel 8080 but significantly cheaper. The Z80 was widely used during the 1980s in many popular home computers such as the TRS-80 and the ZX Spectrum, as well as arcade games such as Pac-Man . The company also made 16- and 32-bit processors, but these did not see widespread use. From the 1990s, the company focused primarily on the microcontroller market.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or simply America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

In computer architecture, 8-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 8 bits wide. Also, 8-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 8-bit is also a generation of microcomputers in which 8-bit microprocessors were the norm.

In computer architecture, 16-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 16 bits wide. Also, 16-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 16-bit microcomputers are computers in which 16-bit microprocessors were the norm.


The name (rhymes with bye; Zeye log) is an acronym of Z integrated logic, also thought of as "Z for the last word of Integrated Logic". [4]


Zilog was started in California in 1974 by Federico Faggin and Ralph Ungermann, [5] [6] who both left Intel after working on the 4004 and 8080 microprocessors and custom chips. Masatoshi Shima, who also worked with Faggin on the 4004 and 8080, joined Zilog in 1975. Ungermann had a falling-out with Faggin and left Zilog in 1978. The company became a subsidiary of Exxon in 1980, but the management and employees bought it back in 1989, led by Dr. Edgar Sack.

California State in the United States

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents across a total area of about 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Federico Faggin Italian physicist and electrical engineer

Federico Faggin is an Italian-American physicist, engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. He is best known for designing the first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004. He led the 4004 (MCS-4) project and the design group during the first five years of Intel's microprocessor effort. Faggin also created, while working at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1968, the self-aligned MOS (metal-oxide-semiconductor) silicon-gate technology (SGT), which made possible MOS semiconductor memory chips, CCD image sensors, and the microprocessor. After the 4004, he led development of the Intel 8008 and 8080, using his SGT methodology for random logic chip design, which was essential to the creation of early Intel microprocessors. He was co-founder and CEO of Zilog, the first company solely dedicated to microprocessors, and led the development of the Zilog Z80 and Z8 processors. He was later the co-founder and CEO of Cygnet Technologies, and then Synaptics.

Intel American semiconductor chip manufacturer

Intel Corporation is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip manufacturer based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung Electronics, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel ranked No. 46 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. Intel is incorporated in Delaware.

Zilog went public in 1991, but was acquired in 1998 by Texas Pacific Group. Curtis Crawford replaced Dr. Sack and changed the company's direction towards 32-bit data communications processors. Bonds were sold against the company to fund the new developments, but after the Internet bubble burst in 2000 and the resultant reduction in customer demand for such products, Curtis Crawford was replaced by James (Jim) Thorburn, who reorganized the company under Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 2001 and refocused it on the 8- and 16-bit microcontroller market.

TPG Capital American investment company

TPG Capital is an American investment company. The private equity investment firm is focused on leveraged buyouts and growth capital. TPG manages investment funds in growth capital, venture capital, public equity, and debt investments. The firm invests in a range of industries including consumer/retail, media and telecommunications, industrials, technology, travel/leisure and health care.

Dot-com bubble Historic speculative bubble covering roughly 1997–2000

The dot-com bubble was a historic period of excessive speculation mainly in the United States that occurred roughly from 1994 to 2000, a period of massive growth in the use, and adoption of the Internet.

Chapter 11 is a chapter of Title 11, the United States Bankruptcy Code, which permits reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is available to every business, whether organized as a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship, and to individuals, although it is most prominently used by corporate entities. In contrast, Chapter 7 governs the process of a liquidation bankruptcy, though liquidation can be done under Chapter 11 also; while Chapter 13 provides a reorganization process for the majority of private individuals.

Jim Thorburn led Zilog back into profitability, and by FY 2007, Zilog had $82 million in sales. During this time, the company developed the Z8 Encore! 8-bit Flash MCU and ZNEO 16-bit Flash MCU product families. In February 2007, Zilog hired Darin Billerbeck to replace Jim Thorburn as President and CEO.

The last year Zilog introduced any new 8-bit microcontroller products was 2007. With no new product road map, FY2008 sales fell 20% to $67.2 million. Sales fell 46% in FY2009 to $36.2 million.[ citation needed ]

In January 2008, Zilog declined an unsolicited proposal made by Universal Electronics Inc. to acquire the company. [7]

Zilog's iconic 8-bit processor, the Z80. Pictured is one of the first Z80s ever made. Zilog Z80.jpg
Zilog's iconic 8-bit processor, the Z80. Pictured is one of the first Z80s ever made.

On February 19, 2009, Zilog announced that it had sold off its 8-bit Crimzon Universal Remote Control infrared microcontroller product line, as well as its ARM9 32-bit microcontrollers, including the Zatara security microcontrollers and 15 patents, to Maxim Integrated Products. Remote control manufacturer Universal Electronics Inc. purchased all of Zilog's software and intellectual property assets related to Zilog's universal remote control business, including all ROM code, software, and database of infrared codes. [8] Zilog sold these assets for $31 million cash.

In December 2009, IXYS Corporation bought the company for $62.4 million in cash, which was significantly below the market valuation of Zilog's stock at the time. [9] [10] Details of the acquisition have been under investigation.

Since early 2010, Zilog has refocused its efforts toward satisfying the industrial and consumer markets for motion detection, motor control, RF wireless and embedded security applications, and is currently producing a number of reference designs that integrate its 8- and 16-bit microcontrollers with IXYS power management products.

In February 2012, Zilog announced the release of its Z8051 family of microcontrollers and tool sets to fill a vacancy in the developer market for 8051 cores that was created when chip-maker NXP Semiconductors exited the 8051 market. Later that year, Zilog announced its ZGATE Embedded Security solution, which incorporates its eZ80F91 MCU and TCP/IP stack with an embedded firewall to offer protection against cyber threats and attacks at the chip level.

In August 2017, Zilog and its parent IXYS Corporation were acquired by Littelfuse Inc in exchange for $750 million in cash and stocks. [11] [12]



The Z80(i) was an improved implementation of the Intel 8080 architecture, which was faster, more capable, and much cheaper; alongside the 6502 it was one of the most popular 8-bit processors for general purpose microcomputers and other applications. The CPU was used in the Sinclair ZX80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum and the Amstrad CPC home computers as well as the MSX architecture and the Microbee and Tandy TRS-80. The CP/M operating system (and its huge software library featuring hits like WordStar and dBase) was known to be the Z80 disk operating system", and its success is partly due to the popularity of the Z80. The 1985 Commodore 128 added a Z80 to the Commodore 64 hardware allowing it to run CP/M software.

The Z80 was a common choice for creators of video games during the Golden age of arcade video games, with a Z80 powering Pac-Man , [13] dual Z80s in Scramble , [14] and three in each Galaga machine. [15] It was the central processor for the ColecoVision game console (1982), Sega's Master System (1986) and Game Gear (1990), and the over 100 million unit selling Nintendo Game Boy (1989).

In the 1990s, the Z80 was the CPU of the Texas Instruments graphing calculator series, as well as being used as the sound CPU in the Sega Genesis.

Other chips

After the Z80 Zilog introduced the 16-bit Z8000 and 32-bit Z80000 processors, but these were not particularly successful, and the company refocused on the microcontroller market, producing both basic CPUs and application-specific integrated circuits/standard products (ASICs/ASSPs) built around a CPU core. As well as producing processors, Zilog has produced several other components. One of the most famous was the Zilog SCC serial communications controller as found on early Apple Macintosh, Sun SPARCstations and SPARCservers up to the SPARCstation 20.

Zilog also formed a Systems Division, which designed the Zilog System 8000, a Z8000- or Z80000-based multiuser computer system running a Unix derivative called ZEUS (Zilog Enhanced UNIX System). [16] [17]

Zilog attempted to enter the 32-bit microcontroller market in February 2006 with the demonstration of ARM9-based Point-Of-Sale (POS) microcontroller product line. [18] [19] The final product was released in 2007 called Zatara. [20] Sales were disappointing and the entire ARM9 series was sold to Maxim Integrated Products in 2009.

Zilog also produced Zdots single board computers. It includes Zilog eZ80AcclaimPlus controller, 1MB flash memory, 512KB SRAM, 10BaseT Ethernet Controller, IrDA transceiver, 2 x 60-pin system expansion interface with full MPU bus/control signals, RJ-45 Ethernet connector. [21] Motion detection version includes Z8 Encore! XP MCU. [22]

Product list

Microprocessor families

Microcontroller families

Communication controllers

Motion detection

  • ZEPIR0AAS02MODG - ZMOTION™ Motion Detection Module
  • Z8FS040 ZMOTION™ MCU - Microcontroller with built-in motion detection algorithms
  • Z8FS021A - ZMOTION™ Intrusion MCU - Microcontroller with built-in intrusion motion detection algorithms

Digital signal processor

TV controllers

Line 21 decoders

  • Z86129/Z86130/Z86131
  • Z86228/Z86229/Z86230

Single board computers

  • Zdots eZ80F91

See also

Related Research Articles

Intel 8080 8-bit microprocessor

The Intel 8080 ("eighty-eighty") was the second 8-bit microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and was released in April 1974. It is an extended and enhanced variant of the earlier 8008 design, although without binary compatibility. The initial specified clock rate or frequency limit was 2 MHz, and with common instructions using 4, 5, 7, 10, or 11 cycles this meant that it operated at a typical speed of a few hundred thousand instructions per second. A faster variant 8080A-1 became available later with clock frequency limit up to 3.125 MHz.

Microprocessor Computer processor contained on an integrated-circuit chip

A microprocessor is a computer processor that incorporates the functions of a central processing unit on a single integrated circuit (IC), or at most a few integrated circuits. The microprocessor is a multipurpose, clock driven, register based, digital integrated circuit that accepts binary data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory and provides results as output. Microprocessors contain both combinational logic and sequential digital logic. Microprocessors operate on numbers and symbols represented in the binary number system.

Microcontroller small computer on a single integrated circuit

A microcontroller is a small computer on a single metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) integrated circuit chip. In modern terminology, it is similar to, but less sophisticated than, a system on a chip (SoC); an SoC may include a microcontroller as one of its components. A microcontroller contains one or more CPUs along with memory and programmable input/output peripherals. Program memory in the form of ferroelectric RAM, NOR flash or OTP ROM is also often included on chip, as well as a small amount of RAM. Microcontrollers are designed for embedded applications, in contrast to the microprocessors used in personal computers or other general purpose applications consisting of various discrete chips.

Zilog Z80 8-bit microprocessor

The Z80 is an 8-bit microprocessor introduced by Zilog as the startup company's first product. The Z80 was conceived by Federico Faggin in late 1974 and developed by him and his 11 employees starting in early 1975. The first working samples were delivered in March 1976, and it was officially introduced on the market in July 1976. With the revenue from the Z80, the company built its own chip factories and grew to over a thousand employees over the following two years.

Intel 8008 byte-oriented microprocessor

The Intel 8008 is an early byte-oriented microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and introduced in April 1972. It is an 8-bit CPU with an external 14-bit address bus that could address 16 KB of memory. Originally known as the 1201, the chip was commissioned by Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC) to implement an instruction set of their design for their Datapoint 2200 programmable terminal. As the chip was delayed and did not meet CTC's performance goals, the 2200 ended up using CTC's own TTL-based CPU instead. An agreement permitted Intel to market the chip to other customers after Seiko expressed an interest in using it for a calculator.

Zilog Z8000 16-bit microprocessor

The Z8000 is a 16-bit microprocessor introduced by Zilog in early 1979. The architecture was designed by Bernard Peuto while the logic and physical implementation was done by Masatoshi Shima, assisted by a small group of people.

Masatoshi Shima Japanese computer pioneer

Masatoshi Shima is a Japanese electronics engineer. He was one of the designers of the world's first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, producing the initial three-chip CPU design at Busicom in 1968, before working with Intel's Ted Hoff, Stanley Mazor and Federico Faggin on the final single-chip CPU design from 1969 to 1970.

In computer architecture, 4-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 4 bits wide. Also, 4-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. A group of four bits is also called a nibble and has 24 = 16 possible values.

Zilog eZ80 8-bit microprocessor

The Zilog eZ80 is an 8-bit microprocessor from Zilog which is essentially an updated version of the company's earlier Z80 8-bit microprocessor.

Zilog Z8

The Zilog Z8 is a microcontroller architecture, originally introduced in 1979, which today also includes the Z8 Encore!, eZ8 Encore!, eZ8 Encore! XP, and eZ8 Encore! MC families.

The Namco Galaxian is an 8-bit arcade game system board, which was first used by Namco for Galaxian in 1979; it was the first board from the company to use the Zilog Z80 microprocessor. It uses specialized graphics hardware supporting RGB color, multi-colored sprites and tilemap backgrounds. Its introduction of colorful tilemap graphics distinguished it from the Taito 8080 monochrome framebuffer system of Space Invaders. Namco Galaxian also introduced a sprite line buffer system, which was adopted by later systems such as the Namco Pac-Man, Midway's Tron hardware and Sega Z80.

The Namco Pole Position is an arcade system board, which was first used by Namco in 1982 for the Pole Position arcade games; it was one of the first system boards to utilize stereo and quadraphonic sound, and uses NVRAM to save its high scores after a machine was turned off. It was also the first arcade system to use 16-bit microprocessors, with two Zilog Z8002 processors. It was the most powerful and expensive arcade system upon release, costing $4200. The hardware is capable of pseudo-3D, sprite-scaling.

This is a list of assemblers: computer programs that translate assembly language source code into binary programs. Some assemblers are components of a compiler system for a high level language and may have limited or no usable functionality outside of the compiler system. Some assemblers are hosted on the target processor and operating system, while other assemblers (cross-assemblers) may run under an unrelated operating system or processor. For example, assemblers for embedded systems are not usually hosted on the target system since it would not have the storage and terminal I/O to permit entry of a program from a keyboard. An assembler may have a single target processor or may have options to support multiple processor types. Very simple assemblers may lack features, such as macros, present in more powerful versions.

The history of general-purpose CPUs is a continuation of the earlier history of computing hardware.

IXYS Corporation, is an American company based in Milpitas, California. IXYS focuses on power semiconductors, radio-frequency (RF) power semiconductors, and digital and analog integrated circuits (ICs) In July 2013, IXYS announced the completion of acquisition for Samsung's 4-bit and 8-bit microcontroller line.

C8051 is a microcontroller (MCU) core produced by Silicon Laboratories, Inc. It is based on a patented implementation of the 8051 instruction set architecture.

In computing, autonomous peripheral operation is a hardware feature found in some modern microcontroller architectures to off-load certain tasks into embedded autonomous peripherals in order to minimize latencies and improve throughput in hard real-time applications as well as to save energy in ultra-low-power designs.


  1. "Contact Us". www.zilog.com. Zilog. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  2. Zilog Inc 10-K, March 2009
  3. IXYS Corporation 10-K, March 2013
  4. Zilog Oral History Panel on the Founding of the Company and the Development of the Z80 Microprocessor
  5. "ZILOG Oral History Panel on the Founding of the Company and the development of the Z80 Microprocessor" (PDF).
  6. "Ungerman-Bass in Brief".
  7. "Zilog Press Release (February 4, 2008): "Zilog Board of Directors Declines Universal Electronics Inc.'s Unsolicited Proposal"".
  8. "Zilog Sells Off Two Product Lines (February 19, 2009)".
  9. "SEC filing: IXYS and Zilog merger".
  10. "Zilog Acquired by IXYS".
  11. "IXYS Corp. agrees to be bought by Littelfuse Inc. in $750 million cash and stock deal". Silicon Valley Business Journal. August 28, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  12. "Littelfuse buys Ixys for $750m". Electronics Weekly. 2017-08-29. Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  13. Zilog at the Killer List of Videogames
  14. Zilog at the Killer List of Videogames
  15. Zilog at the Killer List of Videogames
  16. "ZILOG Z8000". old-computers.com. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  17. Fiedler, Ryan (October 1983). "The Unix Tutorial / Part 3: Unix in the Microcomputer Marketplace". BYTE. p. 132. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  18. ZiLOG(R) Unveils 32-Bit ARM-9(R) Application-Specific Strategy to Focus on Security and Point-of-Sale Markets
  19. New ZiLOG ARM9 Microcontroller Product Line
  20. Zilog Leads the Secure Transactions Market with New 32-bit High Security Zatara(TM) Series ARM(R) Core Based ASSP
  21. Zilog Zdots eZ80F91 Module
  22. Zilog ePIR Enhanced Motion Detection ZDOTS Single Board Computer Bolsters Energy Management For Vending And Other Applications Back