That Wacky "Most Influential Tech Product Poll"

Tech professionals choose the most influential products of the last 25 years – but miss a big one. And give top honors to a dubious choice.
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is an organization I hold in high regard, but I have to quibble with the results of their recent poll, “Most Influential Tech Product of the Past 25 Years.”

Here are the votes from the 471 tech professionals who responded to the poll (they were allowed to vote for multiple products):

1) Internet Explorer (66 percent)
2) Microsoft Word (56 percent)
3) Microsoft Windows 95 (50 percent)
Tie for fourth place:
4) Microsoft Excel (49 percent)
4) Apple iPod (49 percent)
6) RIM Blackberry (39 percent)
7) Adobe Photoshop (35 percent)
8) McAfee VirusScan (32 percent)
9) Netscape Navigator (31 percent)
10) Palm Pilot (31 percent)

Perusing the list, a glaring omission hits you full in the face: what, no Apple Macintosh? I mean, c’mon. Back in the ‘80s, when poor Windows geeks were still typing in line commands (friends don’t let friends do DOS), Apple pioneered the point and click interface. Talk about influential – the Apple Mac laid the foundation for the revolution in personal computing.

Furthermore, it’s disappointing to see Internet Explorer take top honors in this poll. Sure, based on sheer numbers of users, perhaps IE deserves this spot. But if the criteria is “thought leader,” then IE falls short. At its birth, the browser was a response to Netscape, and had to huff and puff to catch up. IE needed the huge helping hand of Windows’ all-powerful market position to win the war. And if “quality of product” is the criteria, IE again losses its luster. Security has been its downfall. If a less-buggy product would have emerged triumphant, our computers would be far safer for it. At any rate, IE is now seeing an eroding user base (granted, a slow erosion) in the face of Mozilla.

One product on the list I have no quibble over: Adobe Photoshop. Without this nifty app to retouch photos, think of all those stars and starlets whose wrinkles would be revealed in living color. Perish the thought.

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