Watching consumers race to retail stores the day after Thanksgivinga day that has come to be known as "Black Friday"provides a glimpse of one small step within a larger economic process. Retail stores, and the companies that fill them with their products, count on healthy sales on that Friday, and the days that follow it through the end of the calendar year, for their livelihoods. Much of the consumer angst centers on a perceived need to secure that "perfect present," these days often the latest electronic gadget. And the manufacturers of those gadgets help their own bottom lines by having as many new products available for release around this time of year.

The RF/microwave industry does not work the same way as this, but many of the reasons for developing new products are the sameto spur sales and enhance economic growth. From the simplest standpoint, a new product is one more thing to sell, and one more opportunity to make a sale. But on a deeper level, many new products are developed as a result of feedback from customers and, in developing new products in response to inputs from customers, a manufacturer is essentially telling those customers "you are important to us, and we listened." Especially in electronics, where progress is seemingly constant, customers will always look for improvements, and for new products that might make an improvement in their applications.