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July 11th, 2005
When Mike Splinter took the helm at Applied Materials in April 2003, the business of making tools and equipment for chip factories was at its worst. The Santa Clara firm was feeling the pain, cutting 2,000 jobs just weeks before Splinter became the chief executive.
In fact, the world's largest maker of chip-making tools posted a loss of $149 million in 2003. With improved business conditions in this cyclical industry, Applied has turned things around, posting a $1.35 billion profit in the last fiscal year.
The following interview has been edited for space and clarity.
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