Courtesy of Ipopisp.comCalled "The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates" by BusinessWeek, Gary Kildall was the guy Gates beat out in the bidding to supply IBM with the operating system for the original PC. According to legend, Kildall blew off the meeting with IBM to "go flying," though Kildall denied that rumor, posthumously, in his unpublished memoirs. Controversy aside, Kildall made significant contributions to the tech business--especially as the head of Digital Research, which created the seminal pre-DOS operating system CP/M, and (later) as a host of the classic Public TV program, Computer Chronicles. Kildall died in 1994.
50. Udi Manber
Courtesy of GoogleIf there is a search engine anywhere that doesn't have the the thumbprint of Udi Manber on it, we don't know about it. From Yahoo to Amazon's A9 to Google, Manber has been one of the search business's greatest contributers. But Manber's work goes back even farther than that, to AltaVista. He was a key member of the design team on what many feel was the best engine running until Google came along.
Christopher Null writes regularly for PC World and blogs about technology daily at tech.yahoo.com.