My remarks last week about Philips' inability to cope with some simple queries about a product they're working on have provoked a few reactions. "If it helps," said one correspondent, "I'm trying to buy 100,000 chips from them and they are equally as (expletive deleted) useless and unresponsive." To which another exasperated engineer replied, "I worked for a period at a Philips subsidiary as a subcontractor: I could not believe how mind-bogglingly inefficient and bureaucratic the place was, or that nobody seemed to care provided the salary cheque arrived on time. You would have thought that Philips Semiconductors would have been mildly helpful about providing information to a high-volume user of bits actually within the Philips group, but you'd be wrong: they were worse than useless, even denying knowledge of bits that had made it into the RS catalogue" To my amazement, I found a Philips chip in a UPS I was dismantling for parts (oh, how the long summer nights fly past round here). I imagine that someone got into a lot of trouble for allowing enough information about the chip to escape to let someone else to design a circuit around it.