NEW YORK (TheStreet) --If you thought last year was eventful in tech, this year has been even bigger.
Major product announcements, (and products not announced), a massive social media IPO, a major CEO change in addition to a sharp run in technology stocks were some of the more dominant themes this year in technology. (Wait a second, this sounds a lot like 2012 :) ).
Several tech companies blossomed in 2013, performing exceptionally well as the economy grinded higher, moving away from the depths of the Great Recession of 2007-09. Amazon
(AMZN - Get Report), Google
(GOOG) and Facebook
(FB - Get Report) saw their share prices jump this year while others such as Apple
(AAPL), vastly underperformed.
Who gets your vote as best tech CEO of 2012?. Don't like the nominees? Then feel free to write in your favorite.
Jeffrey P. Bezos, CEO, Amazon
Bezos is in a world of his own, taking the online retailing giant from a bookseller in the mid-90's to the Internet juggernaut it is today. Amazon touches nearly every single retailing industry, whether it's clothing, food, electronics, etc. The company has even moved into hardware, selling its Kindle lineup of e-readers, the Fire line of tablets amid rumors of an Amazon set-top box.
The 49-year old Bezos was recently on 60 Minutes, talking about Amazon's foray into drones as the company experiments with technology services that could disrupt the entire shipping industry. There is seemingly no sector that Amazon and Bezos won't pursue in its quest to sell as many things to as many people as possible.
Due in large part to the ever expanding reach of Amazon, shareholders have a lot to be thankful for this year. Shares are up 53.9% year-to-date, far outpacing the 33.7% gain seen in the NASDAQ.
Spencer Rascoff, CEO, Zillow
A newcomer to this list, I was remiss to not include Rascoff, who leads Internet real estate giant Zillow, in my most social CEO poll last year. Mea culpa.
Rascoff has turned Zillow into more than just a place where people go to check the price of their homes and their neighbors. Zillow is a legitimate business and is expanding into several initiatives, including rentals and mortgages.
For the third-quarter, Seattle-based Zillow lost 5 cents a share on a non-GAAP basis on $53.3 million in revenue as mobile continued to perform exceptionally well. Its Marketplace revenue climbed 73% year-ove -year to $40.9 million, reaching 64 million monthly unique users on both mobile and Web, up 75% year over year. In an interview with TheStreet, Rascoff said Zillow is now "running away in terms of audience leadership." "We had 27% category share in the beginning of the year, we're now at 34% according to comScore."
Zillow also continues to take market share on mobile, which Rascoff believes is more important. "We're now twice as big as Trulia, and and four times as big as Realtor.com." Shares of Zillow have soared this year, gaining 156.9%, compared to the 33.7% gain in the NASDAQ.
Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce.com
Benioff isn't only be a candidate for the best tech CEO, he's also a candidate for the most social CEO. Ever loquacious on Twitter, Benioff provides a wide range of opinions on who Apple's next CEO should be (Angela Ahrendts) and Google's driverless cars all the while talking to our own Jim Cramer and Herb Greenberg.
Benioff, a former Oracle (ORCL) executive, has continued to help lead the cloud computing revolution, turning software-as-a-service (SaaS) into a phrase. He's also continued to build out salesforce.com into more than just a traditional software company, focusing on making sense of social media.
San Francisco-based salesforce has seen its shares rise this year, gaining 24.4% year to date.
Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter
Another former Google (GOOG) exec as well as a former comedian and a Michigan grad, Costolo has taken the world by storm with his micro-blogging social network. Twitter, which listed its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, raised $1.82 billion to help the San Francisco-based company continue to grow.
Costolo is also an avid football fan, constantly tweeting about the NFL, college, and whatever else is on. He also has a pretty sharp tongue, from his days as a comedian.
Though his track record as a CEO of a publicly-traded company is comparatively light, shareholders may want to watch out for Costolo. Twitter has gained 68% from its IPO price of $26, signaling that investors are willing to place their bets on the company despite it not being profitable. In 140 characters or less.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
Zuckerberg's 2013 has been almost as good as his 2012 was bad. Following a brutal IPO in May 2012, the 29 year-old wunderkind has seemingly done no wrong.
Product launches, outside of Home, have generally been well received, including Graph Search. Instagram, which the company bought last year, has continued to expand with more than 150 million users, and recently started launching advertising, to help it become a business.
The social networking giant has more than 1 billion users, and advertising revenue is expanding at a furious rate. For the third-quarter, Facebook earned 25 cents a share on $2.02 billion in revenue, as mobile revenue surged to 49% of total advertising revenue, approximately $881 million. $1.8 billion of that $2.02 billion figure was just from advertising, as Facebook ended the quarter with 1.19 billion monthly active users (MAUs), up 18% year-over-year, and daily active users (DAUs) up 25% during the same time frame to 728 million users.
Shares of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook are up 82.7% this year, more than doubling the performance seen in the NASDAQ.
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