Top Silicon Valley Facts

Top Silicon Valley Facts

Top Silicon Valley Facts

Silicon Valley Facts – The term “Silicon Valley” usually refers to the Santa Clara Valley in California, although it is a precise term that often includes other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.

It is generally thought to be centered around the city of San Jose in Santa Clara County.


Silicon Valley’s population is as uncertain as its borders. Santa Clara Valley’s people are about 1.8 million, but what is considered “Silicon Valley” may be several million more if the surrounding counties are included.

The story behind the name

Silicon Valley became famous as the birthplace of silicon-based transistors in the 1950s.

Don Hoefler later entered the surname into the public consciousness in 1971 through a series of articles he wrote for Electronic News, borrowing the term from his friend Ralph Wurst. (Top Silicon Valley Facts)

By this time, the tech industry was developing rapidly in California.

County and city

The specific community that Silicon Valley constitutes is unclear, but the most prominent are:   

  • East Palo Alto (San Mateo County)
  • Foster City (San Mateo County)
  • Fremont (Alameda County)
  • Campbell (Santa Clara County)
  • Cupertino (Santa Clara County)
  • Los Altos (Santa Clara County)
  • Los Altos Hills (Santa Clara County)
  • Milpitas (Santa Clara County)
  • Monte Sereno (Santa Clara County)
  • Los Gatos (Santa Clara County)
  • Menlo Park (San Mateo County)
  • Mountain View (Santa Clara County)
  • Morgan Hill (Santa Clara County)
  • Newark (Alameda County)
  • San Jose (capital, Santa Clara County)
  • San Mateo (San Mateo County)
  • Santa Clara (Santa Clara County)
  • Saratoga (Santa Clara County)
  • Scots Valley (Santa Cruz County)
  • Sunnyvale (Santa Clara County)
  • Palo Alto (Santa Clara County)
  • Redwood City (capital, San Mateo County)
  • Union City (Alameda County)

History of Silicon Valley

Because of the US Navy’s attachment to San Francisco, the surrounding area became a center for developing radio and aerospace technology, even hosting an unsuccessful attempt to build a fleet of blimps in the 1930s and ’40s.

In later years, Stanford professor Frederick Terman encouraged the university to lease some of its assets to high-tech corporations, the Stanford Industrial Park.

Major engineering companies such as Eastman Kodak and General Electric opened offices there, providing opportunities for technically-minded students and inspiring the research and discovery boom.

For this reason, Terman is often referred to as the “father” of Silicon Valley, along with William Shockley.

William Shockley is behind the nickname Silicon Valley due to his innovations in semiconductor design.

Although he never benefited from this research, eight employees left Shockley and established several successful technology companies, most notably Intel Corporation, in the 1960s.

These companies gave rise to others and continued to progress in California’s central region. One of Silicon Valley’s oldest and most successful technology companies, Hewlett-Packard, flourished in many of these newly created markets.

In the 1970s, Xerox Corporation opened the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in Silicon Valley to develop new technologies.

PARC proved to be a center of invention and innovation, leading to the advent of technologies such as graphical user interfaces, Ethernet cables, and laser printing.

Xerox famously failed to capitalize on most of these simple technologies, but Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were two people who were able to see their potential.

Apple Computer and the Microsoft Corporation will usher in a revolution in personal computing that will pave the way for countless other companies and change everything about modern technology. (Top Silicon Valley Facts)

As the Internet became popular in the 1990s, Silicon Valley became the center of an explosion in dot-com businesses.

Many young engineers trained at Stanford and working in older technology companies began to build their startups, which fueled California’s economic and real estate boom.

Although the dot-com bubble eventually burst, many companies established in that era have come to dominate today’s web services: notable examples include eBay, Netflix, and Google.

Major companies

Below are just a few significant companies that have established or have strong ties to the Silicon Valley area, past or present. (Top Silicon Valley Facts)

  • Google Inc.
  • Apple Inc.
  • Facebook Inc.
  • Adobe systems
  • Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Intel Corporation
  • eBay Inc.
  • Yahoo! Inc.
  • Cisco Systems
  • LinkedIn Corporation
  • Mozilla Foundation
  • Symantec Corporation
  • Varian Associates
  • Xerox PARC
  • Sun Microsystems
  • TiVo Inc.
  • Netflix Inc.
  • AOL Inc.
  • VMware Inc.

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