One company that I've been doing some contract development for used one of 
the Maxim ADC chips (don't remember which offhand).  It was single sourced, 
and Maxim pulled the plug on it.  Right now they are buying it where they 
can on the spot market for up to $75 per chip.  I believe that the normal 
cost for this part was $5 per chip.  They are doing this to fill critical 
customer orders.  Fortunately, they only need a small number to do this.

Needless to say there is a flurry of activity to redesign the board and 
firmware to use an alternative part.

Of course this can happen with any vendor, but since there aren't many 
second sources for Maxim parts they may be a little more likely to either 
be in short supply, or discontinued with no direct replacement available.

Moral of the story.  If you are going to use a single sourced part from any 
source, give some thought to making the hardware and firmware design 
flexible enough to easily use an alternative part at some future time.

YMMV..


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