Silicon Valley is different. Big corporations there act as economic engines. Universities develop intellectual capital. Venture capital, angel, and legal infrastructure sustain the waves of growth. The influx of entrepreneurial immigrants. The culture of starting companies and then growing or failing. The inspiration of people following dreams to change the world. All that and the sunny climate that once sustained farms and orchards instead of technology companies.
Outsiders may forget that Silicon Valley is not powered by startups. Rather, multinational companies with tens of billions of dollars in revenue drive the tech industry. The firms include Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Google, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Intel, Gilead Sciences, eBay, Franklin Resources, Facebook, and Tesla. The valley is headquarters to companies engaged in electronics, power engineering, computing, and communications—all on the leading edge of research.
Although semiconductors remain an important part of the area’s economy, Silicon Valley has been most famous in recent years for innovations in software and Internet services. Silicon Valley has significantly influenced computer operating systems, software, and user interfaces.
The biggest industries are computer software and hardware, then biotech, then business services.
Computer History Museum
Established in 1996 in Mountain View, the Computer History Museum is dedicated to preserving and presenting the stories and artifacts of the information age, and to exploring the computing revolution and its impact on society.
The museum claims to house the largest and most significant collection of computing artifacts in the world.
The museum’s 25,000-square-foot exhibition, “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing,” opened to the public in 2011. It covers the history of computing in 20 galleries, from the abacus to the Internet.
The exhibits include a Difference Engine designed by Charles Babbage in the 1840s and constructed by the Science Museum, a restoration of a historic PDP-1 minicomputer, and a look at Google Street View and the history of “surrogate travel.”