Avneesh Balyan

Jun 30, 2020

3 min read

Power of Silicon: Future is Autonomous Cloud (Part-I)

In essence, Silicon is ruling the high tech market. The miniaturization as well as commoditization of silica led to moving of the high tech industry from mainframe/corporation owned powerful computers to omni present powerful mobile devices and “theoretically” unlimited computing centers (“Cloud”). The consumer devices (Hardware modules) are now sold as software centric ecosystems and slow moving regulated communication industry behemoths are trying to navigate to agile social media corporations

But impact of silica is not limited to the high tech industry, it’s the old school industries which are seeing the real disruptions. Every decade, we are seeing software cannibalising the old business models and destabilising the forces running the decades old industries.

In this blog, I am going to use the perspective of silicon or chip specifically the Processor market in this evolution cycle. It’s not always that the processor is leading these changes, disruptions or technological revolutions. In general the industries keep evolving, new markets are being created or unexpected industries create their own space on the power of the software centric business practices, and the Processor industry plays a catch up role. But we can see the clear relationship between these two tangents.

Shockley Era:

The transistor was successfully demonstrated on December 23, 1947 at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. Bell Labs was the research arm of American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) (Bell Labs is now part of Nokia after multiple diverture, spin off and mergers of parent companies). This flourished new era of miniaturization, commoditization and global acceptance of the electronic and computing devices.

The initial transistor phase created a revolution in consumer products (Microwave, washing machine, etc which even helped in women empowerment), Entertainment (TV, transmission, cheaper radios) and explosive growth of communication networks. At the same time, IBM which was selling main frame with vacuum tube, transitioned to transistor based mainframe and revolutionized the computing world.These processors and chips were of specialized in nature and customized by most of the corporations. ’50, ’60s and ’70s, it was AT&T, IBM and other companies with know-how of emerging semiconductor industry fueled and ruled the high tech industry.

There was an unrelated event that happened in the ’50s, which changed the shape and direction of the semiconductor world and high tech industry. Shockley left Bell Labs and moved to the West Coast. The tragic events which happened in his new company, Shockley semiconductor, will become the seeds of future growth. Group of eight scientists known as “Traitorous eight” left Shockley and started Fairfield. By ’60s, Fairchild and these Eight scientists spinoffs helped in incubating Silicon Valley. Fairchild was directly or indirectly involved in the creation of dozens of corporations, including Intel and AMD. These spin-off companies came to be known as “Fairchildren”.

But this era was dominated by East Coast Labs and their adoption of new inventions, Silicon. AT&T became the most innovative telco company, IBM, Kodak, Wang Laboratories/Computers, Motorola, etc ruled the high tech world. But their strength made them susceptible to coming changes.

(Part-II): Fairchildren Fiefdom and rise of Silicon Valley https://medium.com/@avneeshbalyan/future-is-autonomous-cloud-part-ii-fairchildren-fiefdom-and-rise-of-silicon-valley-d48ae19aa3bf