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Sam Palmisano, IBM

Samuel J. Palmisano has spent every single day of his 30-year career working at IBM (IBM), so you might think he's a defender of the status quo. No way. He's shaking up Big Blue, pushing the development of the Windows alternative Linux operating system, and remaking the company around a new technology vision called e-business on demand. This year, IBM is spending one-third of its $5 billion research budget on the e-biz initiative, plus $800 million marketing it. All of IBM's product groups -- services, software, hardware -- are developing capabilities that will help fulfill the vision. And the rest of the industry is following his lead.

The idea behind this initiative is to provide corporate customers with computing power as simply and reliably as an electric utility. The technology will be delivered over the Internet, and customers will only pay for what they use. Palmisano says the shift will drive the next round of productivity gains by making it easier and cheaper for companies to get a bang out of technology.

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