This article can give us a lot more insights than is obvious at first. I seems to be about the silicon chips industry but its really a lot more about a whole bunch of interesting patterns for the ongoing economic development in the world.
Some interesting quotes: “A little history is in order. The semiconductor industry began in 1947 with the invention of the transistor at Bell Labs. The integrated circuit was invented at Fairchild and Texas Instruments in the late 1950s, the microprocessor at Intel in 1971. Since that last date, the modern computer chip has gone through approximately 15 generations; each, as Moore’s Law predicted, about twice as powerful as the one before. A biannual industry report, compiled by the Semiconductor Industry Association with the top scientists in the business, estimates that chips can keep up this extraordinary pace (the fastest of any technology in human history) for at least another twenty years, or ten more generations.”
“Thus, the original microprocessors of thirty years ago, which cost hundreds of dollars when new and were only used for the most powerful minicomputers and workstations, now (licensed to other companies) cost pennies and are sold in the millions for use in everything from cell phones to digital cameras to electronic toys products that only exist because of these chips.”
update 2012: link doesn’t exist anymore