Does the United States still lead in tech? The answer is hardly an unqualified yes.
On the positive side, this is the country where some of the most important breakthrough products are still being created. The iPhone came out of Cupertino. As the packages say: "Designed by Apple in California." And here some of the most revolutionary new internet businesses are still being incubated, including Facebook of Palo Alto, Second Life (created by San Francisco's Linden Lab), and Salesforce.com, also of San Francisco. Each is pointing the way to whole new ways of doing things online.
But the equally-disruptive Skype came out of Europe, and Joost, launched by the same visionaries, seems a truly international company. Nokia of Finland continues to be the world's largest cellphone-maker by revenues, and Samsung of Korea is close behind. SAP of Germany, of course, still dominates the enterprise software business that Salesforce.com is unsettling. (Though much of SAP's engineering is done from its tech center in Palo Alto.)
No other country can duplicate the American environment of tech creativity, which arises from a unique stew of entrepreneurs, academics, engineers, imaginative marketers and savvy financiers packed together in an atmosphere of risk-taking and plentiful capital. There is nowhere outside the United States remotely like the three places where this formula is most clearly at work--Silicon Valley, of course, plus Austin and Boston.
But while Silicon Valley retains its unrivaled vitality, the rest of the world is now paying close attention and is never far behind. Every innovation is mimicked elsewhere.
Source: Fortune, http://money.cnn.com
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