National Semiconductor celebrated its most successful ever fiscal year by giving each of its 8,500 employees a 30GB iPod, the company revealed last night.

The company will also use the music player as a new training and communications tool by offering National podcasts and other employee communications.

"We're looking for new and more effective ways to communicate with our employees - and the iPods will help us do both," said Brian Halla, National's chairman and CEO.

The analogue integrated circuits that National designs, manufactures, markets and sells provide portable devices (such as the iPod) with longer battery life, sharp images and crystal clear sound.

"Our employees were vital contributors to our most successful year in National's 47-year history, and we wanted to equip them with the tools to help us create more value for our customers," said Halla.

"The Apple iPod exemplifies the next stage of the consumer electronics revolution as content such as downloadable music, movies and digital photos - as well as a compelling user experience - takes centre stage. And, it's analogue that makes the difference. This is where National, and our employees, deliver value to our customers."

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