Trending: Amazon narrows HQ2 search to 20 cities, moving to next phase in contest for $5B economic prize founder Jeff Bezos has held onto his No. 3 spot on the New Establishment side of Vanity Fair’s annual rankings of business leaders and entertainers with serious cultural pull.

And despite the decade-long stagnation of Microsoft’s stock price, and the magazine’s recent critical piece on his leadership, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer moved up one notch from last year to No. 9 on the magazine’s Powers That Be list.

Here are some snippets from what Vanity Fair’s October issue has to say about two of Seattle’s top tech titans:

On Bezos:

Long one of the most important media merchants in the world, Amazon is no longer simply selling books but is also creating them. Bezos has his own e-book publishing imprint and is starting to develop movies and TV shows. Meanwhile, the company’s cloud-computing business provides data storage to many of the Web’s best-known properties, including Instagram and Netflix.

The magazine, which is running the rankings in its October issue, also calls out an unlikely achievement that’s one of the wackiest scoops we’ve had at GeekWire: a miniature cell-phone air-bag system that Bezos co-authored.

On Ballmer:

The calls for Ballmer’s resignation from the top spot at Microsoft come as if by clockwork, but the man doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The software giant remains one of the largest—and most profitable—technology companies on the planet, with its much-maligned Windows operating system nonetheless powering more than a billion P.C.’s. The launch of Windows 8, in late October—which prompted Ballmer to boast, “The gloves are off!”—is the object of much speculation and anticipation.

Ballmer’s “big move” of the year? Microsoft’s late entry into the tablet market. Vanity Fair calls Surface, unveiled in late June, “a concession to Apple’s success at controlling both hardware and software.”

Hmm, maybe that has something to do with Apple’s Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive topping the New Establishment crew.

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