Notable Newsmakers 1996

See 1996 through the eyes of old school execs, young Turks, venture capitalists, and troublemakers--nine of the prime Newsmakers of 1996.

CNET News staff
3 min read
From Apple's near-death experience to Microsoft's newly found Internet enthusiasm, and from Netscape's fear of the 800-pound Redmond gorilla to antitrust lawyer Gary Reback's distate for it, last year was a memorable 12 months for the people behind tech news. See last year through the lens of nine of the prime Newsmakers of 1996: the old school execs, young Turks, venture capitalists, and troublemakers.

Gil Amelio
Chairman and CEO, Apple Computer

He's an old-school manager who has cut costs and polished Apple up enough to make it presentable to investors. But does Gil Amelio have the daring and the vision to make the company thrive?

Marc Andreessen
Cofounder, vice president of technology, Netscape

Call him the Web's poster boy. As a college student, Marc Andreessen wrote the Mosaic graphical Web browser and, at the ripe age of 23, became an instant millionaire when his company, Netscape, went public. Now he's 24 and squaring off against Microsoft and Lotus in the business market.

John Doerr
Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

John Doerr likes the Internet so much that he bought the company. Well, kind of. This Silicon Valley venture capitalist helped fund Netscape and recently started the Java fund. In his spare time, he twists the arms and bends the ears of the politically influential, including President Clinton.

Larry J. Ellison
Chairman, President, and CEO, Oracle

The Oz of this Emerald City wants to come out from behind the curtain. While his company pulls the switches and levers of computing power, he looks for the product that will make his name a household word. He may have found it.

Jean-Louis Gassée
President and CEO, Be

Jean-Louis Gass?e says the day he was fired from Apple has turned out to be the luckiest day of his life and that he's never slept better. The flamboyant Frenchman, who spent the last six years of his life building operating system company Be, will continue to slumber in peace. Late last week, after months of negotiations had come and gone, Apple decided to buy Be's rival Next.

Bill Gates
Chairman and CEO, Microsoft

From the cover of Computer Currents to the cover of Newsweek, Bill Gates's fame has skyrocketed along with his fortune. Still, no matter how much is written about him, we never seem to get enough.

Scott McNealy
CEO, Sun

With an athlete's sense of hard work and fun, Scott McNealy is leading Sun Microsystems into the next era of computing. You might expect the workstation maker to line up against the network computer camp, but he's going the other way. Find out why McNealy is putting Sun's chips on the NC.

Kim Polese
CEO, Marimba

Meet the woman who made Java a household word. Kim Polese may protest that she's just a laid-back programmer from Berkeley, California, but at 34, she set Sun's stock soaring, then stole three of its best programmers to start her own company and still managed to garner Sun's everlasting gratitude.

Gary L. Reback
Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Bill Gates may wish this guy would stop making news, but Netscape's glad he's in its corner.