The most important technology for the region’s growth was

The most important technology for the region’s growth was, of course, the semiconductor. William Shockley, who had been one of the inventors of the transistor at Bell Labs in New Jersey, moved out to Mountain View and, in 1956, started a company to build transistors using silicon rather than the more expensive germanium that was then commonly used. But Shockley became increasingly erratic and abandoned his silicon transistor project, which led eight of his engineers—most notably Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore—to break away to form Fairchild Semiconductor. That company grew to twelve thousand employees, but it fragmented in 1968, when …

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