"Never base your design on parts not in production. You're asking for trouble. If you need prototype parts to tweak your design, you're asking for trouble. Never promise more than you can deliver."
Maxim's problem has always been that they have a lot of devices listed as "in production," yet you can't actually order them in anything but huge quantities.
This is why we always get purchasing to confirm availability of anything before it gets designed in, but one can also use the old rule of thumb: "don't design with it if you can't buy it from DigiKey or Mouser."
The problem I have always had with Maxim is getting any production parts at all. Parts were always available for prototyping but when it came time for production the parts were never available. Designing a Maxim part into a design was the equivalent to cutting you own throat.
"Before 2007, Maxim had done almost no acquisitions, save for acquiring a Tektronix wafer fab. It preferred to build everything in house. "
What about Dallas Semiconductor in 2001 for $2.5 Billion in stock?
"Maxim shares have begun to outperform some key competitors." I dont think that is the case.
Atleast a cursory look at yahoo finance comparing Maxim, LTC and ADI for the past year it shows equal or slightly weaker performance of the Maxim stock...thus depending on when you start the comparison the results will change :)