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80,259 News Articles

The 50 biggest heroes in technology history

Innovators, legends and geeks who shaped our world

Every gadget and technology that affects your every day life has taken years if not a lifetime of hard work in research, design and development. We've charted the top 50 people responsible for implementing today's best technologies.

29. Jonathan Ive

Aside from its showman/CEO Steve Jobs, Apple tends to keep its employees out of the limelight, but Apple VP and design guru Jonathan Ive has broken that mold. That's appropriate, since he broke another mold too, killing off the beige boxes and bricklike pocket gizmos that had become standard-issue in the tech industry. Ive's designs for the original iMac and for the iPod got people thinking about tech products as fashion accessories and decorative items instead of as impersonal and purely utilitarian objects.

Visit PC Advisor's Apple spotlight for the latest Apple news and opinion

30. Jeff Bezos

Long scorned by Wall Street, Amazon.com, the creation of Jeff Bezos, is today the one internet service that many people can't live without. But Bezos hasn't stopped at hawking Harry Potter on the web. His company has also become one of the leading providers of web services, online storage, and by-the-hour CPU rentals, as Bezos pushes Amazon toward becoming a platform that anyone can use to sell anything that Amazon.com itself doesn't.

31. Meg Whitman

A longtime Hasbro marketing executive, Meg Whitman went from the child's toy box to the grown-up's as CEO of eBay. Whitman joined the online auction site in its infancy and over the course of a 10-year run shepherded it into one of the most successful businesses on the web. (She retired in March of this year.) Aside from squabbles over policy changes and the baffling purchase of Skype, eBay's run has encountered few speed bumps. That success, some say, might lead her to run for governor of California in 2010, but Whitman denies harbouring any such ambitions.

32. Bill Joy

A legend in tech circles, Bill Joy was chief scientist for Sun Microsystems for more than 20 years, where he oversaw numerous critical technology advances, the most important of which was the development of Java, the first major programming language designed for use on the web.

Still, Joy's greatest achievement is probably an academic project he worked on at Berkeley: the development of Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), a major flavour of Unix; even Mac OS X uses BSD as its basis. Today Joy spends his days worrying about the evils of technology, such as bad robots and Grey Goo (a scenario where renegade nanomachines run amok and destroy the world).

NEXT PAGE: Al Shugart, Karlheinz Brandenburg and James D Johnston

  1. They persevered with technology to make our lives easier
  2. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Tim Berners-Lee's place in tech history
  3. Why we've got Ray Tomlinson and Douglas Engelbart to thank for our tech lives today
  4. The founders of AOL and Intel take their places in our top 50 tech bods
  5. Nolan Bushnell, Vint Cerf and Don Estridge
  6. Marc Andreessen, Linus Torvalds and Chuck Thacker take their place in tech history
  7. Why we've got Vic Hayes and Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston to thank for our life today
  8. Apple vice president Jonathan Ive and Amazon creator Jeff Bezos take their places in our top 50 tech heroes
  9. Al Shugart, Karlheinz Brandenburg and James D Johnston
  10. Thomas Penfield Jackson, Jerry Yang and David Filo take their place in tech history
  11. Why we've got Jon Postel and Alan Emtage with Bill Heelan and Mike Parker to thank for our tech lives today
  12. Susan Kare, Sir Arthur C Clarke and Herbie Hancock


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