Silicon Valley sees its worst year since 2001

There's not much good news for this year's Silicon Valley 150, a tech-sector portfolio created and tracked by the San Jose Mercury News.

There's not much good news for this year's Silicon Valley 150, a tech-sector portfolio created and tracked by the San Jose Mercury News. Most of the companies on the list suffered stomach-churning losses as the economy tanked last year.

The newspaper hasn't yet posted its searchable, sortable database of financial info for 2008 (you can read 2007's much cheerier chart), but the Merc's reporters have outlined the tumult from last year. In short, 2008 was the worst year since 2001:

* Revenue for the Silicon Valley 150 grew only 5 percent.

* Profits dropped a vertigo-inducing 52 percent.

* Internet companies in the SV150 slid 36 percent in market capitalization. Yahoo's loss was the largest: A 50 percent fall from $38 billion to less than $19 billion.

* Hardware makers Hewlett-Packard and Apple grew their revenue, but most computer gear makers struggled. Sun wrote down nearly $1.5 billion and has recently been in talks with IBM over a potential acquisition.

* Hewlett-Packard dominates the local economy in sales revenue. Last year's $118 billion in sales is nearly triple that of second-place Cisco.

* Software makers had mixed results. Nearly half posted net losses, but Oracle's sales jumped 12 percent.

* Chip makers -- the companies that put the silicon in Silicon Valley -- are still a major part of the Valley, employing 200,000 workers. But Intel has fallen behind Cisco in sales to the #3 slot. Some analysts think the company may post its first quarterly loss in 22 years next week. Nvidia, National Semiconductor and Zoran suffered even worse than Intel.

* Biomedical companies are holding out against the recession better than other tech firms.

* Networking -- basically Cisco plus a few much smaller companies -- is also holding out better than most tech subsectors.

What's the takeaway from this? While HP, Oracle and Apple had an OK year, for most of the local tech sector 2008 was worse than 2001. This time, it's not just overhyped Internet startups going bust. The Valley's bread-and-butter employers have been hit by an economic crash they had little to do with. If the recession keeps up, 2009 may be even worse.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags economic downturn

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Boutin

The Industry Standard
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?