Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos beat off competition from Apple, NBC Universal and eBay CEOs to take the number-one spot in Fortune's 2012 list.
Singled out for how his company has revolutionized book sales, publishing and literary consumption, Bezos won praise for his focus on long-term gains and for a leadership style that encourages innovation within its ranks. Fortune went as far as to suggest that the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD Tablet is the reason behind Apple's decision to enter the market with the iPad Mini.
In the 14 months since Steve Jobs passed away, speculation has been rife as to who would inherit his crown as the most innovative and inspiring leader and though many have looked towards Google's co-founders, Bezos's move towards the limelight and to large-scale gala launches of tech devices suggest that the Amazon chief could be staking a claim for the position.
Amazon was founded in 1994, not as a means of revolutionizing book sales, but as a means of testing a new technology platform and its possibilities. Books were chosen because they could easily fit into a post bag and in the case of US and UK addresses, fit inside a mailbox or pass through a letterbox.
Much of Amazon's retail success has come from applying the developing platform to more and more commercial areas. However, it is in enterprise solutions where it is truly innovative. Its cloud services are used by hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide and, as its tablets and other mobile devices become more and more popular, consumers will also start to migrate to Amazon's cloud services en masse. Even Google, Apple and Microsoft are playing catch-up.
In his opening keynote speech at the Open Mobile Summit on November 7, CEO of chip designer ARM Warren East, said that he believed the future of mobile devices lies in services and not in the technology behind the devices themselves. "It's not the phone that's the exciting thing. It's the ability to communicate and deliver data anywhere all the time. That's what has made the world a much smaller place," he said.
If this is the case, then Amazon is already ahead of the curve with its focus on delivering content and services to devices and to developing cloud computing services that will soon be able to do the 'heavy lifting' element of computing so that our devices won't have to.