We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

PC Advisor's IT Person Of The Decade

Top 10 technology personalities revealed

Science Fiction had it that the high-tech future would be dominated by faceless corporations - if not actual evil robots. The truth is rather more humane, especially in the latter part of the decade where the Web 2.0 crowd started taking over.

Here we look at the personalities that shaped the products, companies and technology battles of the decade. We've  out the individuals (and on occasion, partners) who have made the biggest impact between 2000 and 2009.

Winner: Steve Jobs

PC Advisor's Person Of The Decade wasn't one of the young guns bursting out of start-ups like Google, Twitter or Facebook. His company started up in the mid-1970s but it's still determining the direction that the industry and much of the rest of us are taking today.

That company is Apple, and he is one of its founders and arguably the most charismatic leader the tech industry has had or ever will have - Steve Jobs.

Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, having sold his company NeXT to Apple as the foundation for its efforts to create a next-generation operating system for the ailing computer manufacturer.

That foundation became Mac OS X, released in 2000 and the template for all leading OSs since - right up to Microsoft's recent Windows 7.

In January 2001 Apple released its iTunes music software that has revolutionised not just the music industry but also the worlds of movies, telecoms and software distribution. Later that year the iPod - PC Advisor's Product Of The Decade - began the slow death of the CD. It would later gain voice capabilities and become the world's most desired and popular smartphone, the iPhone.

"Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. It's very fortunate if you can work on just one of these in your career. ... Apple's been very fortunate in that it's introduced a few of these," boasted Jobs in 2007.

In the 1980s he kick-started the popularity of the personal computer by putting a human face on it in the Mac graphical user interface. In the 1990s his animation company Pixar took CGI to the masses with flicks such as Toy Story. And in the 2000s Steve's vision and marketing genius brought us Mac OS X, the iPod, iPhone and iTunes.



Steve Ballmer

Shy, retiring type Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 but took the top job at the turn of the century when he was named CEO, replacing Bill Gates who took on a new title of chief software architect.

Under Ballmer's leadership, Microsoft continued to control the desktop and server operating system markets and successfully came through a number of legal battles that at one point threatened to break up the company.

As the decade draws to a close, Microsoft is facing its toughest challenges yet, with the likes of Google and Apple threatening to knock the Redmond giant off its perch. Ballmer's verbal attacks on Microsoft's rivals were always worth listening to, but it was his on-stage antics for which he'll be most remembered.

Whether expressing his enthusiasm for developers ("developers, developers, developers, developers") or his frankly scary stage entrance culminating with his "I love this company", Ballmer's keynotes will remain popular on YouTube for years to come.



Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone

By 2000, Twitter-creator Jack Dorsey had already made a name for himself as the creator of dispatch routing software which his company sold to taxis and the emergency services.

But it was six years later that he came up with the original idea for a new twist on instant messaging that would allow users to use a text messaging service to communicate with groups, rather than individuals.

When cofounder Biz Stone saw the application that Jack Dorsey created he was reminded of the way birds communicate: "Short bursts of information... Everyone is chirping, having a good time."

In response, Stone came up with ‘twttr', and the partners eventually added some vowels. It's hard to think of a more evocative name in the tech world than twitter, but what began as what Stone described as "trivial" bursts of communication developed into a powerful means of networking and breaking news.

Twitter was named the word of the year for 2009 by the Global Language Monitor in its annual global survey of English words and phrases that appear in the media and online.

Dorsey and Stone were even suggested as possible candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize for the role Twitter played during 2009's civil unrest in Iran, according to a former US national security adviser. Mark Pfeifle, a former aide for George W Bush, suggested that Twitter and its founders be considered for the prize, which is awarded to those who push for "fraternity between nations" and for "holding the promotion of peace", according to reports earlier this year.

See all nominations for the PC Advisor Awards 2010


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

LED vs Halogen: Why now could be the right time to invest in LED bulbs

IDG UK Sites

Christmas' best ads: See great festive spots studios have created to promote themselves and clients

IDG UK Sites

Why Apple shouldn't be blamed for exploitation in China and Indonesia