UK trip-hop band makes cyber chart

A CHART in which the trip-hop band Massive Attack appears at No 39 would usually be about music. But instead the trio from Bristol have been picked by Time magazine as among the "50 most influential" names in the new cyber elite.

At No 1, to nobody's surprise, is Bill Gates, the world's richest man by virtue of his chairmanship of the software giant Microsoft. "He resembles King Midas, another ruler whose touch turned everything to gold" comments Time - though it asks "Will hubris be his undoing?" as the United States government sues Microsoft under anti-trust laws.

Second most powerful is Sony's president, Nobuyuki Idei, for his work turning the company to a pan-media giant. Third is another American, Steve Case, chief executive of America OnLine (AOL), the largest online provider in the world, with 14.5 million clients.

Though many of the names will be familiar only to people who look at the labels of grey boxes and then look up the annual reports of those companies - such as IBM, MCI, and Intel - others are more familiar: No 7, Steve Jobs, "interim chief executive" of Apple, whose iMac has changed people's thinking on personal computer design (and earned its British- born designer Jonathan Ive the No 44 spot); and surprisingly far down at No 19 is Rupert Murdoch, whose LineOne online service "aims to be the AOL of Europe".

At 39, of course, is Massive Attack - nominated for releasing parts of its new album Mezzanine over the Web, garnering more than 1 million "hits" from surfers in five days.

Overall, though, the balance of the cyber world still appears to be tilted westwards: Time's top 50 include Aki Maita, the Japanese woman who invented the Tamagotchi, three Chinese, one Hong Kong entrepreneur, a Brazilian, two Australians, four Britons (counting Massive Attack as three), and two Germans. Them, and 35 Americans.

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