In today's news, a story about a partnership arrangement between Aeroflex and Agilent Technologies underlines a growing trend not only in the electronics industry, but in many different industries worldwide. As the economic downturn continues, more and more companies will seek help from outside their walls, and not necessarily from a government-sponsored "bailout." Partnerships with compatible companies and their technologies may lead to working arrangements that make perfect sense for both companies especially, for example, when one company might be strong in making test equipment or other systems while the other company's strength lies in software.

During a visit the other day to one of this industry's leading RF/microwave components suppliers, Mini-Circuits (www.minicircuits.com), and the firm's legendary founder, Harvey Kaylie, part of the discussion focused on Mini-Circuits' Partner Program and how the company is ready and willing to work with customers as more than "just" customers, but to partner with them to achieve a common goal of process improvement, faster delivery, and increased cost savings. Harvey explained that, with poor economic times, his firm's Partner Program is one way to help control costs, by working closely with Mini-Circuits on those common goals. It certainly is a plan that makes sense and may become more widespread throughout this industry in the years to come.