It’s very easy for us to get carried away and only think of innovation in the Bay Area in terms of Facebook, Twitter and Google. They get all the air time, hype if you prefer, and they touch our lives almost daily. But where would they be without companies like Broadcom because they make the chips carrying the internet traffic that enables companies like Facebook possible?
Without Broadcom’s technology Mark Zuckerberg’s idea would never have flown so high.
Broadcom’s products are the foundation stone upon which the internet and our incredibly connected society is built. In internet terms they are old, Jurassic even. But these guys are no dinosaurs, they may be big but they run fast and innovate just as swiftly.
The #blogbus tour stopped by Broadcom’s offices in Silicon Valley where we spoke with Marc Gonikberg, their Vice President of Engineering in Wireless Connectivity. Marc’s a Silicon Valley veteran. He was working for the sexy start-ups, such as General Magic, that were around when Zuckerberg was in his nappies. Gonikberg was right there on the front line when the technologies that the internet now depends on where first dreamed up, developed and rolled out. And he’s still there now, working for the infrastructure giant Broadcom and helping them to stay where they’ve been for many years, right at the head of the game.
General Magic was arguably the company that invented the smartphone. Their handheld touchscreen communicator device never made it to the market because the infrastructure to serve up the wireless data the device depended on simply didn’t exist. People working at General Magic, like Tony Fadell (father of the iPhone) and Andy Rubin (the Android overlord) went on to create the technologies and products that we all now depend upon. Gonikberg went in a different engineering direction. Since leaving General Magic he’s been working on the technology that would solve the connectivity issues that were holding back the wave of high-speed communication products we’ve witnessed over the past two decades.
Broadcom, with the help of brilliant engineers such as Gonikberg and their CTO Henry Samueli, another engineering genius, have developed many of the milestone technologies that power today’s connected world. We owe our ability to wirelessly connect to the internet to these guys.
Next time you browse a web page, post an update or like a picture, remember that it just wouldn’t work without companies like Broadcom who have laid the foundations of the internet. 99.98% of internet traffic will pass through a Broadcom chip, so it’s safe to say that without them the internet and smartphones simply wouldn’t function. Broadcom are still there, innovating and keeping ahead of the development curve.
They may not have the above-the-line profile of Facebook and Google, but their role in our modern way of life is crucial. Broadcom is a foundation stone in our connected world and they are still producing new technologies to advance and build even more connectivity. They are both at the root and the heart of the internet and smartphone revolution. Remember Broadcom next time you post an update on Facebook because they make that update possible.