Why Silicon Valley Needs a New Name

Tim Bajarin / September 2nd, 2011

I was visiting with one of Silicon Valley’s bright thinkers last week, Kanwar Chandra the CMO of CSR and founder of Sirf, and he told me that Silicon Valley is really no longer Silicon Valley. In fact, he said it needs a new name. He went on to say that Silicon Valley has really become the Valley of platforms.

He astutely pointed out that it is the center of mobile and wireless development platforms with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platform driving major growth around the world. And with Intel jumping on the low voltage processor bandwagon, along with the many Valley companies building IP around ARM cores, it is also the center of platform development in mobile related processors for companies to build next generation mobile devices. The company he founded, Sirf, is the leader in GPS processing and much of the GPS and mapping platforms are being driven by Sirf and other companies in the Valley related to location based hardware and software.

It is now the center of activity in social networking with Twitter and Facebook leading the way with their various platforms that people can develop on. eBay and Craigslist were created to be major platforms for driving eCommerce and both companies are based in the Silicon Valley region. The Bay Area has also been at the heart of BioTech thanks to the pioneering work of Genentech and work at Stanford and UC Berkeley along with many Valley based biotech firms. The Valley’s VC’s are backing start-ups in green energy here in Silicon Valley in a big way that suggests that the Valley will become a hotspot for alternative energy platforms too.

Companies in the Valley are also leading most of the major cloud based projects and initiatives with SalesForce.com and Oracle’s Web based apps providing critical platforms for enterprise. And we will soon see the introduction of Apple’s iCloud and I am willing to bet that they will define how the consumers see and understand what the cloud is all about.

More importantly, Apple’s iCloud will become a major platform for innovation. And of course, Google’s cloud programs are already a big hit and as they make their cloud based business tools more robust and take on Microsoft with their cloud initiatives from an Open Source approach, they too will provide a major cloud based platform for business and consumers.

This shift from silicon being at the center of the Valley’s tech existence to one of platforms driving its future growth is actually quite significant and one that needs to be recognized. To frame our region as just Silicon Valley these days does it an injustice.

But here is the problem. If we see the Valley’s reason-to-exist moving from Silicon to platforms, what do we call it? Silicon Platform Valley does not roll off the tip of the tongue. Or perhaps Technology Platform Valley is the right name. Or how about Silicon Valley now Platform Valley? OK I admit that I am very bad at naming things.

So, I need your help.

If Silicon Valley has evolved beyond its core technology and is now becoming the center for broad technology platforms, is there a better name for it then Silicon Valley? I know the tendency will be to just leave it as it is, but somehow I sense we need to grab hold of this idea of it being the center of new and innovative platforms and embrace it wholeheartedly.

So, while the chance of actually changing its name is remote, I am still open to any good names you can come up with that perhaps we can push behind the scenes and at least get people seeing Silicon Valley for more then being just the center of the universe for silicon based chips.

Your comments and name suggestions are appreciated.

If you feel obliged please comment below or feel free to send me electronic mail at Tim@techpinions.com.

Tim Bajarin

Tim Bajarin is the President of Creative Strategies, Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Mr. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others.
  • Rick Heggem

    Hey Tim,

    Not that I’m good at naming things… I recall when I was a young IBMer at the Cottle Road disk drive facility in San Jose that I heard a similar argument. They said that “Silicon Valley” was a misnomer because most of the money for the valley came from magnetic storage, not silicon. That, of course, has changed. Likely what we have will change again as innovation drives further technological change.

    Since the “valley” part isn’t going to change anytime soon, how about something with either *technology* or *innovation* as lasting identifiers? Tech Valley? Innovation Valley? TechVille? InnoValley? Yikes!

    Good luck with the naming.

    ~ Rick

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