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MAKING THE MODERN WORLD
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story:Personal computers and information networks

scene:Global computer industries

Global computer industries
The influence of the personal computing and Internet industries is not just confined to Silicon Valley. The globalisation of the Internet industry has had some surprising results across the world.
Whilst many argue about the long-term significance of areas such as Hoxton in London and Silicon Alley in Manhattan, the development of some other areas has been central to the creation of a global Internet infrastructure.
Explore computer industries
Silicon Valley, California
Stretching from San Francisco to San Jose, Silicon Valley formed around a hotbed of research at Stanford University. It forms the original home of the personal computing industry, and houses Xerox PARC, Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Intel. During the height of the 1990s dot com boom Silicon Valley companies employed computer professionals and hired a large number of highly skilled immigrant graduates from China and India.
During the first years of the 21st century the valley has been stricken by redundancies, although its strategic importance for the industry remains unquestionable.
This Xerox PARC promotional film discusses the 'buzz' that surrounded Silicon Valley during the 1970s. The name Silicon Valley was used for the first time in 1971. The area focused around the activities of Stanford University and the Stanford industrial park. The area grew to include San Francisco Bay to the east, the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west, and the Coast Range to the southeast.
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A Xerox PARC promotional film outlining why they decided to put their research facility in Silicon Valley, California.
Seattle, Washington State
Not just a centre for coffee and 'grunge' music, Seattle houses some of the most important companies of the Internet age - Microsoft, Amazon and Real Networks.
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Picture of the Seattle skyline.
Silicon Hills, Texas
This area around Austin, Texas houses Dell, IBM, the University of Texas and Texas Instruments, so it has been important since its growth in the late 1980s. Government policies and tax incentives have also contributed to its popularity as a centre for Internet industries.
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Technology companies in Silicon Hills 2003. Silicon Glen, Scotland
In the late 1970s and 1980s the big electronic companies like IBM and Motorola were attracted to Scotland by government financial and material inducements. These formed a large cluster of electronics firms from Glasgow to Edinburgh. The area supports a cluster of Scottish and international companies, as well as some major universities. Despite producing 28% of Europe's PCs there are still questions about whether the industry is sustainable in the longer term.
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Motorola building in Dunfermline, Scotland.
Silicon Plateau, Bangalore
Dubbed 'silicon plateau', Bangalore became known as India's software capital during the 1990s Internet boom, when many US companies outsourced software production to the area. It has a high concentration of computer specialists whose skills in coding, in a global market, were relatively cheap. The area focuses around Bangalore University, the largest university in India, and attracted many of the top names in corporate America. India's hi-tech giants such as Wipro, Infosys and Satyam, are now trying to sustain an industry which was once worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
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Computer software advertising in Bangalore.
Silicon Fen, Cambridge
Based around the University of Cambridge and Microsoft's large investment in a research facility, this area around Cambridge holds high hopes to become England's high-tech centre. The area has a history of computer innovation and small start-up firms since the 1980s, although some still argue that it is too focused on R&D activities with little experience in business and the commercialisation of new technologies. More recently the area has also become a centre for some of the UK's biotech firms.
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Granta science and technology park, Cambridge.
Silicon Wadi, Tel Aviv
Nicknamed Silicon Wadi - a reference to the dried-up riverbeds that crisscross the area - Tel Aviv's Atidim Park is home to a number of Israel's entrepreneurial high-tech firms. The area has been involved in military weapons development so its software development skills are strong, although many fear that Israel suffers from 'brain drain' as its most skilled workers migrate to the USA to find work with more established companies. Interestingly, one of the companies that grew out of this area is NDS, the world's premier company for digital television encryption.
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Atidim, Tel Aviv.
Route 128, Boston
During the 1970s the US government invested heavily in this area for military research, and as a result many large firms located to the region. Based on the freeway around Boston, the area housed the first companies in semiconductor and electronics production. Subsequently, it has always looked over its shoulder at developments in Silicon Valley.
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Technology companies in Boston 2003.
Shinjuku and Bit Valley, Tokyo
In the areas of Japan known as Shinjuku and Shibuya or 'Bit Valley', pervasive broadband isn't a thing of the future, it's happening now. Shinjuku rose up during the 1960s out of a government plan to develop modern office buildings. The high-rise buildings in these areas now offer global high-tech industries a super-fast connection to the Internet, whilst down below this is contrasted with massive congestion. The enormous shopping complexes house hotels, businesses and venture capital enterprises that fund high-tech start-ups.
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Shinjuku by night.

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