Tom Siebel (Oracle, Siebel Systems) stated in a BBC article that he believes that Silivon Valley is beginning to see a wane in its force as a center of innovation and economical force. “I think Silicon Valley has been toppled from its pedestal,” he said. “I think information technology is much less important in the global picture today than it was even 10-20 years ago.”
Hard words from a guy who’s made his fortune in IT in the Valley. He may be right, though. He cites bio-engineering and energy as the next tech powerhouses. Further, Siebel says, not many in the Valley around him realize the same trend.
Tim O’Reilly is one of those who disagrees with Siebel. “Of course Silicon Valley as an epicenter still really matters,” he says. He is the founder of O’Reilly Media.
John Hollar, curator of the Computer History Museum, agrees. “I think Silicon Valley will remain the jewel in the crown for a very long time.”
Of course, Silicon Valley is the lode stone against which all other wannabe tech centers are compared. News accounts in local papers about new tech startups in their area nearly always have the predictable headline: “Are We the Next Silicon Valley?”
Whatever the case, many are seeing that the influence of Silicon Valley is certainly beginning to wane. On the other hand, one of the newly-emerging big business marketplaces is in alternative-fuel vehicles (electrics, hybrids, etc.) and the Valley certainly is becoming a hot bed for those as well.
So who knows? Perhaps Silicon Valley will begin to step away from IT as its crowning achievement and in fifty years will be the automotive innovation hub instead. It’s an interesting thought and the spread of IT business accross the nation has certainly made for interesting times.