21 Feb 2018

Forbes: What The World’s Big 10 Tech Firms Have In Common

The world’s top ten tech companies –Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Alibaba, Intel, Oracle, Samsung and Baidu–increasingly have something in common: they’re doing mission-critical work in Israel that’s core to their businesses back at HQ. Let’s take a look at how this trend is playing out.

Earlier this year, Microsoft hired a 34-year-old cyber-security prodigy –a hacker essentially–as its new head of R&D in Israel. The young man, a veteran of the country’s elite Unit 8200 (Israel’s version of the NSA), will be responsible for future-proofing Microsoft’s defense of its crown jewels in the cloud. Microsoft is a cloud-first company now, everything is there: Azure, Cortana, Office, even Minecraft. In other words, Microsoft’s cloud has to be an absolutely critical part of the company’s core business going forward, and the Redmond-based company is entrusting its security to a 34-year-old Israeli

Amazon: Up until some six months ago, Amazon had only two lines of activity in Israel, one for its AWS business, and a drone R&D facility in Herzliya, just north of Tel Aviv, for its Prime Air business. Those are two pretty big lines of business for Amazon in and of themselves. But now Amazon is hiring 100 Israeli engineers and natural language processing experts to boost Alexa, its smart virtual assistant. The idea here is to significantly advance Alexa’s vocal search capabilities for Amazon’s core business: retail. Once again, we’re seeing a global company, one of the most successful firms of all time, giving Israelis the toughest, most important, mission-critical challenges: Bring Alexa to life faster and better than anyone else, including Siri, Cortana, the Google app, or Bixby.

Google several years ago bought Waze, an Israeli navigation app, in its mission to connect the online and the offline worlds. Waze gives Google so much more than just a navigation app: it gives Google vital data on people’s driving habits around the world, and it opens a new layer of business partnerships and advertising in the offline world, including carpooling. The latter gives Google some market traction against Uber. Waze should eventually be an integral part of Google’s autonomous cars business. Other parts of Alphabet, Google’s parent, have recently started looking to engage with Israeli startups in AI, robotics, and material science –core areas of for Alphabet businesses.

Read more here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/startupnationcentral/2018/02/20/what-the-worlds-big-10-tech-firms-have-in-common/#7c78ae01709e and join our Investment & Technology delegations to Israel to see for yourself