It started like a dream but today, it’s a hub of high technology companies of this world. It is the beautiful Valley of Heart’s Delight and home to 40 cities in the San Francisco Bay Area which cross four counties. Silicon Valley gave birth to the computer and information technology industries.
Frederick Terman was Stanford University’s dean of Engineering and Provost during the 1940s and 1950s. He encouraged faculty and graduates to start their own companies. He nurtured Hewlett-Packard (hp), Varian Associates, and other high-tech firms, until what would become Silicon Valley grew up around the Stanford campus. Frederick Terman was therefore often called “the father of Silicon Valley.” He also proposed the leasing of Stanford’s lands for use as an office park named the Stanford Industrial Park(later renamed Stanford Research Park) where leases were limited to high-tech companies.
The term ‘Silicon Valley’ was coined by Ralph Vaerst, a successful central California entrepreneur. The term was however made public by his friend, Don Hoefler who used it as the title of a series of articles in the weekly trade newspaper, Electronic news. The series began in the paper’s issue dated January 11, 1971 and was titled “Silicon Valley in the USA.” Valley there refers to the Santa Clara Valley located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, while Silicon refers to the high concentration of companies involved in the semiconductor and computer industries that were concentrated in the area; Silicon being the element used in creating most semiconductors commercially. Originally, the term ‘Silicon Valley’ referred to the region’s large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers, but eventually came to refer to all the high-tech businesses in the area.
“Silicon Valley was formed as a milieu of innovations by the convergence on one site of new technological knowledge; a large pool of skilled engineers and scientists from major universities in the area; generous funding from an assured market with the Defense Department; the development of an efficient network of venture capital firms; and in the very early stage, the institutional leadership of Stanford University.
It was in Silicon Valley that the Silicon-base integrated circuit, the microprocessor, the microcomputer, among other key technologies was developed. Innovation in software and internet services is part of the proceeds from Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley has significantly influenced computer operating systems, software, and user interfaces.
Doug Engelbart invented the mouse and the hypertext-based collaboration tools in the mid ‘60s using money from NASA and US AirForce. Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) played a pivotal role in object-oriented programming; graphical user interfaces (GUIs), Ethernet, Post Script, and laser printers.
Silicon Valley is generally considered to have been the center of the dot-com bubble which collapsed in 1998 after the NASDAQ stock market began to decline. After the crash however, Silicon Valley remained one of the top research and development centers in the world. In 2006, the Wall Street Journal found that 12 of the 20 most inventive towns in America were in California, and 10 of those were in Silicon Valley. San Jose led the list with 3, 867 utility patents filed in 2005, followed by Sunnyvale at 1, 881 utility patents.
Thousands of high technology companies are headquartered in Silicon Valley. Those they aren’t headquartered there also found a way of being in the axis of world high tech. some of the very popular ones include;
McAfee (acquired by Intel)
Microsoft (headquartered in Redmond, Washington)
Nokia (headquartered in Espoo, Finland)
Opera Software (headquartered in Oslo, Norway)
Siemens (headquartered in Berlin and Munich, Germany)
YouTube (acquired by Google)