Hitech miracles: IBM, Intel and Microsoft

Having the local heads of business development of Intel, IBM, and Microsoft in one room is a major event. And this week, I had the honour to moderate a panel with those people, organised by the Jerusalem Business Networking Forum

It is no coincidence that these high tech giants have a heavy r&d presence in Israel, the land of miracles. Over the years, Israel has been awarded a number of nicknames, including the “Silicon Valley of the Middle East” or “start-up nation”. Books and theses have been written in quantity to substantiate the point. Korea, Denmark and others all send delegations to Israel to find out how the Holy Land has created such an commercial miracle.

Well here are some pointers as to what’s going on.

First, the panel was hosted by Jerusalem College of Technology. A university dedicated to scientific excellence, the President, Professor Noah Dana-Picard, observed in his opening address how this one small institution alone has fostered 65 start-ups. For example, NDS is a prime supplier of tech for Sky TV. And a new application will allow solar power providers to use heat from direct light from the sun and reflected light from the ground. This creates an additional and significant 25% of output

As for the guest speakers, Michael Oran of IBM noted that barely 20% of his company’s sales today originate from standard hardware. IBM needs to come to countries like Israel, with the biggest lab outside the USA, in order to find and sponsor new commercial ideas. To date, his own global technology unit boasts revenues from over 100 Israeli start-ups.

Shai Tsur at Microsoft told a similar story. He specifically noted that PrimeSense provides the camera technology for XBox game, one of the fastest selling consumer applications in the world. And the next generation will also feature Israeli tech.

Menachem Shoval observed how Intel’s first plant outside the USA was set up in Haifa, Israel. For the past few years and continuing forwards, “Intel inside” means Israeli tech powering your computer.

One of JCT’s senior lecturers in business management, Hillel Bash, stressed how he encourages students “to look for ideas that will be changing”. So no surprise that he pointed out that there is already a strong Israeli presence in the fields of interactive video, cloud computing and nanotech.

But how? Israeli antagonists view the country as segregationist, which they argue should result in a boycott of the country’s products.

So let me return to the development of the solar panels. The team is made up of two scientists from France, another two formerly of America’s NASA programme, and a further two who arrived from Russia. 

Israel’s open society allows for, even encourages, such wonders. Combine this phenomenon with a population which looks for answers to solutions, and you begin to understand why Israel helps conglomerates to change the lives of millions around the world.

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One Comment on “Hitech miracles: IBM, Intel and Microsoft”


  1. Thanks for the excellent sum up of the JBNF (Jerusalem Business Networking Forum) event.
    JBNF is dedicated to promoting business in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas by holding regular networking meetings. In the last 4 years we have grown to 1000 members and been conductive to making 25 million $ in deals as well as assisting 100 people in finding jobs. To join join us, just sign up at the JBNF site.


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