MarketWatch First Take: Chip legend Gordon Moore leaves behind a Silicon Valley looking for its next big thing

by | Mar 24, 2023 | Stock Market

Gordon Moore, a founding father of Silicon Valley whose work in the chip industry catalyzed computing, died Friday at 94, with his passing marking the further end of a golden era for the technology industry. An Intel
co-founder who played an integral role in several of the earliest semiconductor companies, he is perhaps best known for coming up with Moore’s Law, a prediction that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every year. This ultimately predicted how fast computing would evolve.

But Moore should just as equally be recognized for helping transform Silicon Valley from an agricultural economy into a cradle of technological innovation. When Moore dared to leave a job at Shockley Semiconductor in 1957 with a group of seven other semiconductor pioneers, the Santa Clara Valley was known as the Valley of the Hearts Delight, where fruit orchards were the economic engine, and there were no venture capitalists or startup companies. Moore was instrumental in three of the earliest companies to experiment with and commercialize integrated circuits and the first semiconductors that helped give Silicon Valley its name. After leaving Shockley, he went on to co-found Fairchild Semiconductor, where along with Robert Noyce, he played a key role in the first commercial production of silicon transistors and later the world’s first commercially viable integrated circuits. It was a daring move to leave Shockley, the first semiconductor company in the valley, but Moore and the others, often referred to as the “Traitorous Eight,” had a vision …

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