The 50 most powerful people in networking

This annual list of the 50 most powerful people in networking glorifies power in all its various forms. We honor the aggressive, the competitive, the colorful, the intelligent, the masterful and the thought-provoking. They are the people who make this industry so vibrant.

Schmidt's steering of Google has been so on-course in 2005 that his longtime rival - Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer - reportedly threw a violent tantrum in reaction to his successful recruiting of Microsoft employees. Microsoft also launched its own search engine in self-defense against Google - and the yearlong buzz that Google could be the one to topple Microsoft's PC interface monopoly. Making Microsoft jump is power in Schmidt's hands.

> Next Power 50 section: Network security

NETWORK SECURITY

Kim Cameron // Chief architect of identity and access, Microsoft

Cameron has galvanized the industry into a discussion of digital identity with his "Seven Laws of Identity." In addition, he has wired together a virtual who's who as part of an everyone-invited effort to define the science of identity and its application to computing. The list includes his boss Bill Gates, open source leaders, Microsoft-bashers and academics (see in-depth profile).

Eva Chen // Co-founder and CEO, Trend Micro

In the year since taking over for her brother-in-law as CEO, Chen has moved decisively into emerging markets. Chen took on mobile phones with security software for Symbian operating system smart phones (such as Nokia). She attacked spyware in the enterprise with new products and pushed into anti-spam reputation services, making the latter move through the acquisition of Kelkea. She also partnered with wireless-router maker Netgear to beef up Trend Micro's presence in consumer markets. She did lose some face (and about $18 million) when Trend Micro released a buggy anti-virus update, but the company rebounded quickly from the costly gaff (see related story ).

George Samenuk // Chairman and CEO, McAfee

Samenuk has realized he doesn't have to expend energy in head-to-head combat with competitors such as Symantec. With a little creative thinking and strong products, he is reaching enterprise and consumer customers in new ways - and having financial success at it. For example, the relationship he struck with AOL to sell McAfee anti-virus and e-mail security wares has become a model for other service providers and is leading to unusual enterprise-customer wins, Samenuk says. He points to an agreement with Canada's ScotiaBank in which the bank will sell McAfee services to its online banking customers. He's also pushing McAfee with other clients, for instance, partnering with USB maker M-Systems to bring anti-virus technology to memory devices.

Gil Shwed // Founder, chairman and CEO, Check Point

In 2005, a maturing Shwed has steered his venerable firewall company in directions that bode well for both himself and the company. Among his top '05 moves was the purchase of open source intrusion-detection system Sourcefire. Although Shwed is vague about how he plans on integrating Sourcefire with Check Point products, most analysts say the technologies dovetail nicely. Shwed promises to keep open Snort, the popular Sourcefire tool. He's moving into the desktop too, acquiring Zone Labs for its endpoint security technology. And Shwed has countered encroaching hardware vendors by rolling out appliances broadened to include protection of Web and LAN traffic.

Paul Simmonds // Co-founder of the Jericho Forum; director of global information security, ICI

As one of the users who founded an industry consortium, Simmonds' influence is powerful indeed. His untiring energy has opened communication channels among international users to create next-generation security infrastructures in a no-perimeter world. Simmonds has attracted a who's who of global enterprises onto his governing board, including BP and Procter & Gamble. Its member roster of more than 50 end users is no less impressive. In 2005 Jericho completed a vision statement and began the technical, committee work to turn vision into standards. Simmonds also has been busy reaching out beyond the global biggies. At a Black Hat security conference, for instance, he organized a contest for papers that further the no-perimeters concept.

John Thompson // Chairman and CEO, Symantec

Thompson packs a punch with his pitch that Symantec and other security companies have to expand into areas such as storage and systems management to remain relevant. Some industry watchers may doubt his strategy, but he has certainly drawn attention with his plans to move Symantec beyond security and into data-storage management, via the Veritas acquisition. Non-security vendors - think Microsoft in particular - trying to move into Symantec's home court won't have an easy time against the man and his vision.

> Next Power 50 section: Service Providers

SERVICE PROVIDERS

Jeffrey Citron // Chairman and CEO, Vonage

With rival Skype now part of eBay, all eyes are on Citron and where he will take Vonage next. One place he's not afraid to go is to the regulators. Taking a page out of the Baby Bell playbook, Citron complained to the FCC after discovering that an ISP allegedly was deliberately blocking Vonage calls. Another area of regulatory dispute has been Vonage's E911 capabilities. The company has been under pressure by states to improve its 911 services - which the company required subscribers to activate separately from the phone service. In October, Vonage announced that it would implement Covergence's Eclipse E911 system to address the criticism; its ability to do so bodes well for other VoIP providers. Earlier this month it announced that basic 911 service was available to all customers, and the trickier E911 - where emergency teams learn the physical address of the caller - was available at 900 emergency call centers and quickly expanding. With such issues addressed, rumors are flying as to whether Citron will take Vonage public or find a deep-pocketed suitor of his own.

Gary Forsee // CEO and president, Sprint Nextel

When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region shortly after Forsee assumed leadership of the newly merged Sprint Nextel, he may have felt more powerless than powerful during what should have been his moment of glory. But the generous response that Forsee oversaw at Sprint Nextel was powerful indeed: As of mid-September, the company had donated $6.5 million in relief, distributing wireless phones, pre-paid phone cards, meals and cash contributions. Now Forsee has turned his focus on issues such as wireless adoption for businesses, integrating VoIP and wireless, and IP migration. He'll be a force - like Katrina - with which other carriers must reckon.

Kevin Martin // Chairman, Federal Communications Commission

Martin's first year as FCC head was a cakewalk for him, as he pushed through several major initiatives with little opposition. He gave the nod for the Verizon/MCI and SBC/AT&T mergers, voted to end regulations requiring incumbent carriers to share DSL connections with competitors, and persuaded the FCC to require Internet carriers to tighten up their emergency services. Look for bigger tests of his power to come, however, as Martin undertakes IP services regulation and other more controversial issues in '06.

> Next Power story: The most powerful companies

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