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Monday, December 27, 1999
John Patrick, vice president of Internet technology, IBM

Who made the cut

As a fitting close to the decade in which really big things happened in networking (need we mention the Internet by name?), this year’s list of the 25 most powerful people in networking is populated by personalities capable of big things.

People such as Bernie Ebbers and John Sidgmore of MCI WorldCom, Pat Russo of Lucent and Mike Volpi of Cisco forge the big buys. People like Bill Joy of Sun and Drew Majors of Novell have the big ideas that result in tangible, valuable products and technologies. People like the government’s William Kennard and Thomas Penfield Jackson make the big decisions that can change the industry. People like Bill Friel of Prudential, John McKinley and Michael Wilson run the big, mission-critical networks we all watch for success or failure. And, of course, people such as C. Michael Armstrong of AT&T, John Chambers of Cisco and Bill Gates of Microsoft run the big, big companies on which networking rests today.

Their plans are grand, as are those of the other folks on our 25 most powerful people list – newcomers and old-timers alike. And so it behooves us all to pay attention to what they are up to in the world of networking. They are a powerful lot.

The 25 Most Powerful

John Patrick

Whatever mistakes IBM has made in its 88-year history, it has redeemed itself in the eyes of the Internet, thanks in large part to John Patrick.

Ask any network manager to name the top three enterprise-level e-commerce servers, and you’ll hear IBM’s Net.Commerce, followed by an “Ummm?” and a shrug. For that mind share, Patrick has earned himself an armload of power.

Patrick, though, is the company’s visionary in all things Internet at IBM, not just Net.Commerce. He helped IBM embrace Java by preaching cooperation with rival Sun, rather than following Microsoft’s path of modifying Java. He is also the internal Internet guru, constructing IBM’s Get Connected Program. Get Connected prescribes how IBM employees should use the Internet and functions as a model for the Internet services it sells.

A founding member of the World Wide Web Consortium, Patrick is known internationally for his ideas on what the Internet can become. Washington has recognized this. He is involved with Next Generation Internet Task Force, a government-led initiative to build the next, high-speed internetwork. He is also the chairman of the Global Internet Project, a private-sector gaggle of international executives interested in the Internet’s ongoing development.

Patrick promises to continue bolstering IBM’s presence (and power) as an Internet player. He’s vowed that IBM will forge partnerships so it can sell a wider variety of e-business software products and strengthen its position in the standards-based Internet world. We’ll see if Patrick has the power to make good on that promise, given the weird open vs. closed dichotomy that characterizes IBM’s culture.