Top 10: Then and Now

Our last lists issue appeared back in 2007; at that time, we made top picks in a number of categories. With the passage of time and events, these 10 top picks were in desperate need of updating.

  • Most Influential Exec: New Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie got the nod in 2007. Even before Ozzie announced he was leaving in October, we decided Steve Ballmer had reasserted himself as top dog.
  • Wildest Microsoft Executive Side Gig: Last time around we had Charles Simonyi, considered the father of Office, who dated Martha Stewart and went into outer space through the Russian space program. This year we honor Paul Allen, who hasn't blasted into space, but did start a private space exploration company so the rest of us - so long as we're rich - can.
  • Biggest Executive Departure: In 2007 we made the obvious choice: Bill Gates. This time the obvious choice would be Ray Ozzie, but as longtime Microsoft watchers, we feel the departure of company president Jeff Raikes to head the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a more profound change. Ozzie worked at Redmond only five years and is noted for pushing the cloud agenda; Raikes's tenure lasted 27 years.
  • Favorite Non-Microsoft Executives: Linus Torvalds was our choice then; now we're going with Steve Jobs.
  • Sharpest Microsoft Competitor: This one hasn't changed - Google remains Microsoft's top archrival.
  • Favorite Technology Ad: The Mac guy ruled the airwaves a few years back. Now it's the Bing ads showing information overload.
  • Best High-Tech Movie: Then it was "Sneakers"; now it's "The Social Network." (This is against the judgment of our Editor in Chief Doug Barney, who found "The Social Network" the most annoying movie of the year.)
  • Favorite New Product That Flopped: Zune looked DOA back in 2007. This year, Kin's remarkable two-month lifespan will be hard to top in the flops department.
  • Smartest Product Name: Sunbelt Messaging Ninja was our past pick; it's been blasted by Spybot Search & Destroy.
  • Favorite Product: Ahead of Its Time: Last time it was the iPhone; this time it's the iPad.

About the Authors

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

Lee Pender is the executive features editor of Redmond magazine. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter.


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