Ford Heads for the Valley


Ford Drives Into Silicon Valley: Ford Motor Co. is coming to the Valley to “prepare for the next 100 years.” The company says it will open its first dedicated research lab in California soon, although it didn’t specifically say where or when. (Some reports say it will be located in Palo Alto.) The center will be staffed by locally recruited employees and others rotated in from different Ford locations. “Silicon Valley represents a deep and dynamic technology neighborhood and is far from Dearborn,” Venkatesh Prasad, a senior technical leader for open innovation at Ford, said in a statement. “With so many opportunities and so much potential, our new lab will allow us to scout new technologies and partners in their own environment.” San Jose Business Journal Is Spreading Out in San Francisco: has signed a 400,000-square-foot lease in San Franciso, the largest new office deal in the city in a decade. The 18-year agreement grows the company’s presence by 50 percent and provides enough space for 2,000 workers. At the same time, the company is planning to build a two-million-square-foot campus at Mission Bay over the next decade. The deal shows how quickly is growing. The headcount climbed by 1,700 last year, hitting 7,000.

Healthcare IT Employment Is On the Rise: Employment is on the rise in healthcare IT, and healthcare spending will reach $40 billion by the end of this year, according to a Janco Associates report. Much of the growth will come from spending on electronic health record (EHR) systems, mobile health applications, and efforts to comply with new government standards. The U.S. health care IT market is expected to grow at a rate of about 24 percent per year from 2012 to 2014, the study says. eWeek

Google Adds Social to Search, Complaints Follow: Google’s rollout of its new “Search plus your world” feature, which integrates and promotes publicly shared Google+ data into their search results, is angering competitors, especially Twitter, whose attorney called it “a bad day for the Internet” when Google sets out to “warp” search results. One reason for Twitter’s griping: Google used to have a deal in place to include tweets in Google’s real-time search results, but that deal ended acrimoniously, and the two companies have been going at it ever since. TechCrunch

IBM Is the Patent King Again: IBM retained its patent crown in 2011, topping the list of patent winners for the 19th year in a row. The only other U.S. company to make the top 10, Microsoft, fell from third place to sixth place.  IBM secured 6,180 patents last year, up nearly five percent from 2010. Samsung Electronics came in second, with 4,894 patents, followed by Canon (2,821), Panasonic (2,559), Toshiba (2,483), Microsoft (2,311), Sony (2,286), Seiko Epson (1,533), Hon Hai Precision Industry (1,514), and Hitachi (1,465). HP (1,308) and Intel (1,244) fell out of the top 10. “Global companies, and especially Asian ones, are collecting U.S. patents at a dizzying pace, and now Asian firms hold eight of the top 10 slots in the 2011 ranking,” said Mike Baycroft, CEO of IFI CLAIMS Patent Services, in a statement. “This isn’t to say that U.S. companies have lost their verve for patent production, as their patent portfolios are also growing. It seems that Asian companies have apparently made it a higher priority.” Network World

Upcoming Tech Events

January 18-20—New York
WebVisions offers workshops and sessions by leading Web, mobile, UX, DIY, and strategy experts. In addition to the event’s Indie/DIY/Maker goodness, WebVisions is kicking off the premiere of the second season of IFC’s “Portlandia” television series.

Social Media Conference
January 23-25—Miami
Social Media Conference is the largest convention focused on social media in the enterprise. The convention is attended by intelligence agencies, NGOs, Global 1000 businesses and academic institutions involved in the social media market. Topics include social media, business strategies, mobile & wireless technology, legal, news, online community software, strategy, funding, and new technologies.

GreenBiz Forum 2012
January 24—New York
The 2012 GreenBiz Forum brings together thought leaders and sustainability executives to define the trends, challenges, and opportunities in sustainable business today. The Forum is the can’t-miss event for sustainability professionals. You’ll learn about the latest trends from thought-provoking speakers, make new connections with peers and suppliers, and bring back innovative, actionable ideas you can apply in your own organization.

Macworld 2012
January 26-28-San Francisco
Macworld Conference & Expo is the leading marketplace for companies that sell, market or promote products, services, or solutions for the Mac OS platform. Mac enthusiasts young, old, newbies and veterans alike choose this conference as their venue to see the newest Mac products and services.