Peter Chou, CEO, HTC
What makes him powerful: Peter Chou has built HTC into a leader in not one but two smartphone platforms. Long the leading supporter of Microsoft's Windows Mobile, HTC recently has expanded support to Google's Android smartphone platform--and the company appears well-poised to ride the coming smartphone wave.
Chou, who has been the CEO of HTC since 2005, has helped transform the company into a small powerhouse. Through the release of several high-profile phones and HTC's custom user interface, Sense, HTC has gained both brand recognition and, more importantly, a reputation as an innovator in the white-hot smartphone space.
"We've been trained to function in this application-centric way. But that's not the way we think," Chou told the Wall Street Journal in June when HTC debuted Sense on the Hero, its third Android phone. "Today's phones are not really designed for people."
Chou's implicit suggestion is that HTC's phones are. With Sense, which has been widely credited for elevating HTC's latest Android offerings above most, if not all, of the competition, HTC has followed through on that idea.
HTC's Sense has several innovative features, including Scenes, which allows users to customize profiles around specific functions or times in their life--business, personal or when they're on vacation, for example. Additionally, Sense combines phone calls, emails, texts, photos and status updates from contacts into a single view, and gives users customizable Push widgets like weather, Twitter and email.
Besides helping to create solid hardware and innovative software, Chou also has helped deepen HTC's ties with U.S. carriers. Today, HTC's products are heavily promised by both large and small carriers across the country. Chou, who completed Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program in 2006, clearly understands the benefits of tight integration with carriers. That, combined with HTC's strong reputation for innovation, has put the company in a powerful position. --Phil