Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer tops list of the 25 most influential people on the web

BusinessWeek has just revealed its annual listed of the 25 most influential people on the internet, as voted by its readers and staff.

BusinessWeek has just revealed its annual listed of the 25 most influential people on the internet, as voted by its readers and staff.

While the usual moguls have made the list, some unexpected entrepreneurs make an appearance with their smaller, but just as significant, contributions to the web.

One Australian (well, former Australian) makes the list: News Corporation chief Rupert Murdoch, who owns MySpace.

We want your feedback on the list. Who has missed the cut? Who doesn’t deserve their spot. Send your comments to [email protected].

1. Steve Ballmer. Microsoft’s CEO is suffering complaints over Vista and a consumer base that’s moving from software to the internet. While the group’s revenue is bringing in $1.8 billion each month, Ballmer will have to chart a new course to stay on top.

2. Mitchell Baker. The founder of the Mozilla Group has seen its market share rise to nearly 20% while Microsoft’s Explorer has lost ground from 95% to 72%. But competition from Google’s Chrome browser may see them bring out new software quicker than usual.

3. Jeff Bezos. Amazon.com’s leader brought the group’s stock to a record high last year, continuing to focus on technology and the site’s new music download service.

4. Sergey Bin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt. Google’s trinity have managed to turn this once simple search engine into a massive online force, expecting over $US16 billion in sales and an employee base of over 18,000. The new G1 smartphone, running on software developed by Google, may make an impact in the mobile market.

5. Jeff Clavier. This angel investor started a venture capital firm that has seen the rise of sites such as SocialMedia, Mint and news feed aggregator NetVibes. Clavier has been one of the most influential investors in web 2.0, with five of his start-ups acquired by Yahoo and AOL, among others.

6. Paul Graham. After writing a widely popular essay titled “How To Start a Start-Up”, Graham invested in Y Combinator, a group that provides $20,000 twice a year to help new entrepreneurs. He’s constantly on the look out at tech conventions in California, waiting for the next site to make it big.

7. Arianna Huffington. This Cambridge University graduate started the political blog The Huffington Post, with more than eight million individual hits a month.

8. Joi Ito. This former nightclub DJ has helped programs such as World of Warcraft and social networking sites achieve success and has also invested in companies such as Flickr and Six Apart.

9. Steve Jobs. After returning to the top job in 1996, Jobs has seen Apple’s value soar and become the producer of the world’s higest selling MP3 player – the iPod Nano. After dominating the internet music sales industry with iTunes, Jobs took on the smartphone market with the touch-screen iPhone.

10. Jonathon Kaplan. Kaplan’s Pure Digital Technologies has made filming home video and uploading online so easy with his $US130 camcorder.

11. Loic Le Meur. This investor has sparked one of the most popular blogs in France and echoed the success of Twitter with his own video-sharing site, Seesmic.

12. Jack Ma. A former school teacher, this founder and CEO of the Alibaba Group has seen the company become China’s top e-commerce player. The group also controls Yahoo China and business-to-business service alibaba.com.

13. Matt Mullenweg. Open source software saw Mullenweg develop blogging service wordpress.org. Starting as a lonely journal site and growing into a serious blogging destination for professionals, traffic has more than doubled to see 103 million visitors during the last year, and the site continues to grow. Rival Typepad boasts merely 20 million.

14. Rupert Murdoch. The news tycoon has taken MySpace under the News Corp banner, and turned it into an $800 million entertainment centre. With more than 117 million users worldwide, the site’s newest feature is music service MySpace Music, in a direct attack on Apple’s domination of the market through its iTunes software.

15. Craig Newmark. This former consultant has turned his Craigslist site into a massive classified advertising destination, including anything from jobs, to cars, and even dating.

16. Gabe Rivera. Rivera’s Techmeme has become one of the leading sources of tech news. A content aggregator, the site bases the most popular stories on internet buzz, not a pre-calculated order.

17. Kevin Rose. This computer science drop-out started news service Digg, with a dedicated fan base of between 10 million and 22 million votes for the most popular stories.

18. Sheryl Sandberg. Former vice-president of global online sales at Google, Sandberg has moved to CEO of social-networking hub Facebook and changed the focus from university students to the general public.

19. Jon Stewart. After gaining popularity with political commentary and comedy program The Daily Show, Stewart embraced web 2.0 by moving full episodes of the show online in high quality. With more and more users surfing the web for news, the move has resulted in a surge in ratings for the hit show.

20. Peter Thiel. After moving from eBay-owned payment service PayPal, Thiel started investment firm The Founders Fund which has helped start-ups like Facebook, Slide and Yammer get off the ground.

21. Maria Thomas. Etsy, a marketplace for homemade arts and crafts, sold over $US27 million in goods last year. Thomas, once an executive at Amazon.com, struck success by opting for a cozy, “shop around the corner” feel.

22. Anssi Vanjoki. Nokia’s executive vice-president is responsible for helping the Finnish mobile phone company take on the smartphone industry, including Apple, Research in Motion, and most recently Google.

23. Jimmy Wales. Wikipedia’s founder has seen the user-edited free encyclopedia become one of the top 10 most popular websites in the world.

24. Evan Williams. Back in 1999, Williams predicted the birth of the online journal frenzy and created Blogger, one of the first blogging software applications.

25. Jerry Yang. Yahoo’s co-founder and CEO is still recovering from a five month campaign that resulted in him rejecting Microsoft’s $45 billion take over bid. Yang is considering an ad deal with Google that will see the struggling Yahoo bring in upwards of $800 million a year.

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