Thomas Reardon, 34
Tailors Internet application to cell phones
Microsoft’s original Internet Explorer development team consisted of one person: Thomas Reardon- or just “Reardon,” as he’s generally known. As Internet mania grew, so did Reardon, from programmer to program manager, sifting through hordes of unproven technologies and emerging standards, deciding which to adopt or reject. His work culminated in Explorer 3.0, the first Microsoft browser sophisticated enough to compete with Netscape Navigator. Reardon spent the next four years working with standards bodies, driving Microsoft’s move away from proprietary technologies and toward the open standards that enable software interoperability on the Internet. Today Reardon is a general manager at cell-phone software supplier Openwave in Redwood City, CA, where he’s waded into the middle of the next browser war. “We’re trying to kill this mentality that smart phones are just PCs ported to cell phones,” he says. Instead, he is directing Openwave toward software tailored to just the applications customers seem to want- such as picture messaging and the short-message service. That strategy has paid off: more than 80 percent of U.S. call phones now use Openwave’s wireless-Web browser, and the company expects sales this year to top 180 million units.