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2005 Power Special Issue: Power People

The 50 most powerful people | listed alphabetically

In-depth: Microsoft’s Kim Cameron
In-depth: VMware’s Diane Greene
In-depth: Bank of America’s Craig Hinkley
In-depth: Red Hat’s Matthew Szulik
In-depth: Cisco’s Jayshee Ullal

Four power players name their heroes


Power Companies
Power of Technology
Power Struggles
Power Timeline

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.

By and , Network World
December 26, 2005 12:05 AM ET
John Chambers Cisco Ivan Seidenberg Verizon
Larry Ellison Oracle Joe Tucci EMC
Bill Gates Microsoft Edward Whitacre the new AT&T
Sam Palmisano IBM  
Steve Ballmer Microsoft Paul Otellini Intel
Ian Foster Univa Kevin Rollins Dell
Diane Greene VMware Hector Ruiz Advanced Micro Devices
Mark Hurd HP Matthew Szulik Red Hat
Scott McNealy Sun Daniel Warmenhoven Network Appliance
Charlie Giancarlo Cisco Mark Spencer Digium
Scott Kriens Juniper Networks Jayshree Ullal Cisco
John McHugh HP ProCurve Networking Greg Raleigh Airgo Networks
Don Peterson Avaya John Williams Auto-ID lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Robert Carter FedEx Peter Quinn Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Lt. Gen. Charles Croom Defense Information Systems Agency Fred Wettling Bechtel
Steve Elterich Fidelity Investment Systems David Barnes United Parcel Service
Dianah Neff City of Philadelphia Gordon Bither State Street
John Partridge Inovant Craig Hinkley Bank of America
Marc Benioff Eric Schmidt Google
Alfred Chuang BEA Systems John Swainson CA
Steve Mills IBM Shai Agassi SAP
Eva ChenTrend Micro John Thompson Symantec
George Samenuk McAfee Kim Cameron Microsoft
Gil Shwed Check Point Paul Simmonds Jericho Forum
Jeffrey Citron Vonage
Gary Forsee Sprint Nextel
Kevin Martin Federal Communications Commission


John Chambers // president and CEO, Cisco

Network World - Chambers spent 2005 on the prowl for Cisco's next growth market and found video - the last quadrant in networking's so-called quadruple play of data, wireless, voice and video. Video on the corporate net is an obvious move for a router and VoIP gear maker. IP video to consumers is less obvious, but Chambers has been talking that up too. He'd like Cisco gear to be as prevalent in the next-generation digital home as it is in the enterprise wiring closet. He's also pushing Cisco into young technologies such as self-healing security and IP push-to-talk. His typical confident self, Chambers reportedly told analysts in December that Cisco will continue to grow at 10% to 15% a year (see related story).

Larry Ellison // CEO, Oracle

PeopleSoft, check. Retek, check. Siebel Systems, check. With his unwavering ability to set a long-term strategy for growth and his dogged determination to win a business battle, you get a CEO who resembles the Energizer Bunny - he keeps going and going (and growing and growing). And beyond the outright acquisitions comes the opportunity to win customers for Oracle's own products. For instance, both Retek and Siebel have been known for their strong integration with IBM's DB2. With Oracle now in charge, Ellison has two new crops of customers he can harvest. Even so, Ellison's most pressing enemy target is not IBM but SAP, Oracle's largest competitor in the enterprise application market.

Bill Gates // Chairman and chief software architect, Microsoft

Gates doesn't have to do much to capture the limelight - a testament to his industry might. Most recently, all lights shone on Gates sharing his vision of how Internet software services will revolutionize the world. With Gates hailing the software-as-a-service concept, we can expect stepped-up development activity well beyond Redmond. Software and services competitors as well as entrepreneurs will look to angle in on this Bill-blessed market.

Sam Palmisano // Chairman and CEO, IBM

Palmisano leads the world's largest network-industry company, No. 1 on the Network World 200, with 2004 revenue of $96 billion. In '05 he pushed the company toward small and midsize enterprise projects (though not by forgoing high-end implementations). With these targets in mind, he bought application service provider Corio and open source middleware maker GlueCode. Palmisano says he's focused on keeping IBM's wares from the perils of the commodity drainpipe and the revenue sinkhole caused by commoditization. He's doing so by creating a menu that stretches from free, à la carte offerings to classic supercomputers and multimillion-dollar outsourcing deals.

Joe Tucci // Chairman, president and CEO, EMC

In his five years as CEO, the straight-shooting Tucci has been recrafting EMC into one of the industry's megaplayers. In its '05 third-quarter earnings report, EMC showcased nine consecutive quarters of double-digit growth. Alongside that happy news, EMC's board handed Tucci the chairman position, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2006. Tucci envisions expanding EMC beyond enterprise storage into a systems management company, as demonstrated by his smart, hands-off approach to the ever more-successful VMware and his acquisition of network management vendor Smarts.

Ivan Seidenberg // Chairman and CEO, Verizon

In 2005, Seidenberg set himself on a big power trip - an $8.4 billion adventure that would land him atop a mountain of a communications services provider with annual revenue of more than $90 billion. As the year closed, he waited on clearance from several states so he could call MCI his own. But the true test of his power will come in '06 as he integrates the two companies. If successful, he'll launch Verizon into a secure future framed by coveted broadband, wireless, advanced IP and business services.

Edward Whitacre // Chairman and CEO, the new AT&T

Whether you think SBC /AT&T a foolish lark or a masterful move, you've got to admit the guy's got gumption. Orchestrating the $16 billion acquisition of an American icon - tarnished though it was - took guts, no matter how you look at it. Whitacre sees a big payoff in cost reductions, scale and the all-important enterprise customer base. But like Verizon's Seidenberg, the biggest test of his power will come in integration and next-generation strategizing.

> Next Power 50 section: Enterprise computing

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