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August 23, 2005

Gates Number One, Again

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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has another trophy to place on his mantelpiece. Gates, who turns 50 in October, was voted the person who has "had the greatest impact on business computing in the past half century" in a poll of IT specialists. The poll was conducted by the IBM Share user group celebrating its 50th anniversary this week in Boston.

Gates captured 55 percent of the votes while Tom Watson, Jr. collected 40 percent and IBM computer developer Gene Amdahl had 39 percent. Amdahl went on to build plug-compatible mainframes for his own company.

Thirty-one percent of the respondents chose Internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee, followed by Texas Instruments chip innovator Jack Kilby, 22 percent, and software pioneer Grace Hopper, 19 percent. Linux innovator Linus Torvalds was further down the list with 10 percent followed by Apple Computer's Steve Jobs with 8 percent. The base 444 number of respondents picked several persons each in the poll.

Ironically perhaps, information security was the top emerging trend concerning IT workers, an issue often linked to flaws in Gates' software. Of the 444 individuals voting, 31 percent marked security as the top issue confronting them for the remainder of the decade, while 17 percent picked "shortage of qualified enterprise-class IT professionals."

In third place was the outsourcing/offshoring of applications. Next was interoperability and integration, with 12 percent. On-demand computing was cited as a top concern by 10 percent of respondents.

The poll also had a "most onerous" category, asking respondents to list the "least effective or most wasteful use of IT resources" from the vantage point of the year 2015. They picked the Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance as the first with 28 percent with "deployment of unproven technologies" as the runner-up, 23 percent. "Purchasing of unneeded technologies" was third with 19 percent and "continuing support for outdated technologies" was in the fourth spot with 17 percent.

Since Share is an IBM users group, the pollsters asked respondents to list in order the most significant product or service offered by IBM over the last 25 years. In order of significant, the results were: DB2 Universal Database, CICS, MVS, z/OS, IBM PC, WebSphere, and Parallel Sysplex.

The single technological innovation, in order, picked by the respondents were: The Internet, personal computers, System 360, World Wide Web, Mainframes, integrated circuits, and TCP/IP.

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