Bill Gates, Steve Jobs top ‘Most Influential IT Industry Personalities of the Past 25 Years’ poll

The co-founders of two of the world’s most successful and recognizable information technology (IT) companies are the industry’s most influential personalities of the past 25 years, according to a poll by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).

Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corporation, claimed the top spot on the most influential list. Gates, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975, was named by 84 percent of the 473 IT industry professionals who participated in the web-based poll.

MacDailyNews Take: 99% of whom hold MS certificates and incorrectly think they can’t live without MS products. And, shouldn’t you actually have to have a personality to get on a list of personalities, much less top the thing? Still, casting the world into a decades-long Dark Ages of Personal Computing certainly is influential.

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, which he co-founded in 1976, placed second on the list of most influential IT person of the past 25 years. Jobs was selected by 73 percent of voters.

MacDailyNews Take: All the more remarkable because 99% of them hold MS certificates, incorrectly think they can’t live without MS products, and think Mac is the name of the guy three cubicles over.

Placing third was Michael Dell, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Dell, the company he founded in 1984. He was named by 53 percent of voters.

MacDailyNews Take: 99% of whom were high on hash.

Tied for fourth, at 47 percent, was Linus Torvalds. As a 21-year-old computer science student at the University of Helsinki, Torvalds wrote the original code for the operating system known as Linux. Also at 47 percent were Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who, as Stanford University Ph.D. students, founded Google in 1998.

Rounding out the top ten in the CompTIA poll on the most influential IT industry personalities of the past 25 years were:
• John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems (44 percent)
• Larry Ellison, CEO and member of the board of directors of Oracle (36 percent)
• Vinton Cerf, widely known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet” and the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet (35 percent)
• Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft (35 percent)

MacDailyNews Take: Should’ve been higher. Ballmer influenced plenty of budding IT Pros to select their campus housing and dorm-mates very carefully; also taught them how to dance, scream, throw chairs, and — in an example of influencing by doing the opposite — to copiously apply antiperspirant.

• Meg Whitman, president and CEO of eBay since 1998 (30 percent)

The poll was conducted in conjunction with CompTIAs 25th anniversary. The majority of poll respondents (91 percent) have worked in the IT industry for at least three years; and two-thirds have been in the industry for five years or more.

More info about the poll here.

MacDailyNews Take: The usual travesty. The fact is that today we all use Macs, whether they’re derivative, inferior, upside-down and backwards copies as seen with Windows PCs; or any number of Linux distros that have sadly resorted to trying to look/act like Windows (doubly-derivative); or the real thing. It’s plainly obvious to anyone with even a smidgen of perspective (which is why a bunch of IT Guys blew it): Steve Jobs is far and away the most influential IT personality of the past 25 years. The vast majority of over a billion PCs on the planet work the way they do because of Steve Jobs, not Bill Gates. And that’s without even mentioning how Jobs remade the music industry, led the company that changed animation forever, and is in the process of bringing the world the next new UI paradigm: multi-touch.

Naming Bill Gates “Most Influential IT Industry Personality” over Steve Jobs is akin to naming Harry Connick Jr. “Most Influential Male Singer of Pop Standards” over Frank Sinatra.

[Updated: 7:45pm EST: Added final Take.]


  1. The big difference between the two is (using a hockey analogy) that Bill Gates skates to where the puck is now and Steve Jobs skates to where the puck WILL be in the future.

    Note to Bill Gates: The future isn’t hard to predict when it’s in the past.

  2. @ B. Gates
    @ S. Ballmer

    Guys, don’t forget Michael Dell. He popularized and cheapened low-end PC’s, which is what most people use! If it weren’t for him people would still be using expensive, high-end machines for everything and the computer wouldn’t be nearly as accessible! They would still be all elitist like Macs!

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