Silicon Valley as magnet for: Barnes & Noble, Ford, Nokia

Oracle big boss Larry Ellison may have bought an island all the way in Hawaii, but for some big companies, Silicon Valley is the place to be.

• Barnes & Noble is moving its Nook developer teams to the innovation-centric Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, the Wall Street Journal reports. The New York-based bookseller already has about 400 employees in various offices in Palo Alto. The move next year would consolidate them into a space that’s more than 200,000 square feet, according to the WSJ.

The news about Barnes & Noble’s lease deal comes after its fourth-quarter earnings report earlier this week, which missed expectations even though the company’s loss narrowed. The company for the first time broke out sales numbers for its e-reader and tablet, which compete with’s Kindle and Kindle Fire. The results were mixed: Nook sales, including e-books, fell during the quarter but rose for the year.

The bookseller’s shares have been on quite a ride lately. In late April, Microsoft announced it would invest hundreds of millions in Nook, which sent Barnes & Noble shares up more than 50 percent. Since then, however, they have mostly fallen. After Tuesday’s earnings report, they declined 4 percent. They are up more than 1 percent to about $15.30 as of this post.

• Also rolling into an office in Palo Alto: Ford. Yes, the automaker. In an event at the Computer History Museum earlier this week, Ford announced the opening of its Silicon Valley lab, part of the company’s push to become a leader in auto technology. Chairman Bill Ford said Ford aims to “make tech in cars as intuitive as turning on the radio,” according to CNet. As Rachael King writes for the Wall Street Journal’s Driver’s Seat blog, part of the lab’s mission will be to mine the data that its vehicles’ sensors and software collects, which the company hopes will help it improve quality, efficiency and more. General Motors opened a Silicon Valley office in 2006, according to the Detroit Free Press.

• Finally, the Wall Street Journal gives us a peek inside Nokia’s approximately year-old Sunnyvale offices, painting a picture of the struggling phone maker as a company with high hopes that it will benefit from Silicon Valley’s innovation mojo. Relocating its U.S. operations from New York to Silicon Valley gives the company a “start-up mentality, a challenger mind-set,” Matt Rothschild, head of retail and sales operations, told the WSJ.

We’ve mentioned Nokia quite a bit on GMSV lately, especially in the wake of the 10,000 job cuts the Finland company announced last week. The company, once the world’s leading maker of mobile phones, has struggled to keep up with Apple‘s iPhone and Google‘s Android smartphones. Last year, it announced a partnership with Microsoft, and its new Windows-based Lumia phones have received some positive reviews. Still, the WSJ says Nokia’s U.S. sales had fallen to only 2 percent of the company’s global sales during the first quarter, and a comeback seems a long way away.

Shares of Nokia are down more than 2.5 percent to about $2.45 on the New York Stock Exchange as of this post.


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  • Ford Motors: “….part of the lab’s mission will be to mine the data that its vehicles’ sensors and software collects, which the company hopes will help it improve quality, efficiency and more.”

    Actually, which the company hopes can improve corporate profit, not safety or anything else. I see these kinds of statements all the time, and they should always be in quotes to alert people that it’s just PR.