Steve Jobs

CEO, Apple

Impact: Jobs unleashed his promotional mojo last January, when journalists decamped from Las Vegas in the middle of the Consumer Electronics Show to be present in San Francisco for the unveiling of Apple’s iPhone. “Steve upstaged CES,” says Tim Bajarin, founder of consulting firm Creative Strategies.

Jobs elbowed his way into two new markets in 2007: mobile communications with the iPhone and the set-top box sector with Apple TV. This year, Bajarin says, the company may introduce “ultraportable” lightweight notebook computers and make the iPhone more accessible to software developers who want to create applications for it.

Rumors abound about Apple’s iTunes Store, which Jobs and Apple veep Eddie Cue have built into the biggest legal purveyor of digital tunes, TV shows and features. Some Apple observers suggest movie rentals, or a subscription-based offering, could be imminent. But Bajarin says, “Steve has built a model around individuals buying the media and owning it, and I don’t know why he would change that.”

Adding more studio and network content to iTunes could help build on Apple’s dominance in 2008, as could opening up the marketplace to a wider array of independent producers; last fall, Apple experimented with making the Ed Burns feature “Purple Violets” available before its DVD release, for instance.

POV: “People want to enjoy their entertainment when they want it and how they want it, on the device that they want it on. So ultimately, that’s going to drive the entertainment companies into all sorts of different business models. And that’s a good thing,” Jobs told a D Conference aud last spring.

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