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Decision is to come by the end of 2013, according to sources

In late August, faced with the worst sales drop on PC history triggered in part due to the much maligned (or perhaps misunderstood?) Windows 8, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer yielded to critics, agreeing to step down "within a year".  Now it appears that Microsoft's employees and partners may not have to wait that long to find out the face of that leadership change.

According to a report by Bloomberg, which cites unnamed sources close to Microsoft's board, the selection committee -- which includes top shareholder, company cofounder, former CEO, and embattled current chairman Bill Gates -- is moving aggressively to screen candidates and complete the selection process by the end of 2013.

Mr. Gates is reportedly tapping Charles Giancarlo, a managing director at Silver Lake -- a private-equity firm (the less liquid sibling of the hedge fund) -- to help with selection process.  Mr. Gates has close ties to Silver Lake, as one of their former top investors.  Mr. Giancarlo was a former chief executive at Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), helping to steer its growth.

This will only be Microsoft third CEO; the previous two were Steve Ballmer and the original founder and CEO Bill Gates.

Candidates for the CEO spot reportedly include:
  • Alan Mulally

                         Ford CEO Alan Mulally
     
    • Current Ford Motor Comp. (F) CEO
       
  • Stephen Elop


                 [Image Source: Reuters]
  • Tony Bates

                    Tony Bates
    • Former Skype CEO
    • Current Microsoft Business Development & Evangelism EVP
       
  • Paul Maritz
    • Former Microsoft Platforms Strategy and Developer Group EVP
      • The #3 spot at Microsoft in the 90s
    • Former VMWare, Inc. (VMW) CEO
    • Current GoPivotal CEO
      • A cloud computer venture backed by VMWare and EMC Corp. (EMC)
         
  • John Donahoe
    • Current eBay, Inc. (EBAY) CEO

Bloomberg's sources indicated that Microsoft's selection panel only wants to reach a conclusive decision by the year's end.  It may still take longer for the new CEO to arrive, depending on whom they pick.

If Microsoft picks Mr. Donahoe or Mr. Mulally, it will have to work with their current employer to negotiate when the pick will leave their current company.  A Ford spokesman commented, "Alan continues to focus on executing the One Ford plan, and we don’t engage in speculation."

Microsoft refused to comment on the Bloomberg report.

Windows Blue
Microsoft's new CEO must fix Windows 8 -- or its image, at least. [Image Source: WindowsForum.eu]

Whoever does become CEO of Microsoft has their work cut out for them.  They must continue the executive leadership team revamp, they must restore the reputation of Windows with 8.1 and future upgrades; they must drive the Xbox One to beat a tough competitor, the Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) PlayStation 4; they must guide Microsoft Office's transition to being a cloud service; they must find a way to turn around the struggling Surface and Windows on ARM efforts; and they must find a way to integrate the recently acquired Nokia device division.

Source: Bloomberg



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Come on board members!
By CaedenV on 10/10/2013 8:17:56 PM , Rating: 3
Please let it be Elop. He may not be the most exciting person on earth, but he is a real class act who can be a shark when he needs to be. After the crazyness of Balmer why not take the chill pill of Elop?




RE: Come on board members!
By arazok on 10/10/2013 8:36:51 PM , Rating: 2
I have no idea who the best candidate would be, but something tells me that the CEO of a car manufacturer would suck at running a technology company.

Microsoft needs to be run by a geek.


RE: Come on board members!
By ertomas on 10/10/2013 9:29:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think you are confusing Elop with Elon Musk


RE: Come on board members!
By TerranMagistrate on 10/10/2013 9:37:03 PM , Rating: 2
He's referring to Ford CEO Alan Mulally. Not sure I agree with him though.


RE: Come on board members!
By Lord 666 on 10/11/2013 1:00:45 AM , Rating: 2
Musk would be my first pick for either Apple or Microsoft. Don't know enough about Elop, but not impressed so far.

Mulally reminds me too much of Sculley.


RE: Come on board members!
By CaedenV on 10/11/2013 10:34:10 AM , Rating: 2
Mulally would also be a great pick, but he has already stated twice that he is not interested in leaving Ford. While I am sure that he has his price that would convince him otherwise, I am also fairly sure that MS would not be willing to pay it.

Remember, CEOs are the people who keep divisions running. It is typically the board who picks the direction the company runs in, and the engineers and divisions which figure out how to get there. The CEO is the one who coordinates these efforts, makes critical decisions when there are multiple possibilities to pursue, and keeps up relations with media and other companies.


RE: Come on board members!
By LSUJester on 10/10/2013 10:31:50 PM , Rating: 2
Might as well, seems Nokia and MS are completely in bed with each other, anyway.


RE: Come on board members!
By Shig on 10/10/2013 11:05:28 PM , Rating: 2
They need someone with a fresh perspective, I'd go with the Skype guy.


RE: Come on board members!
By CaedenV on 10/11/2013 10:46:59 AM , Rating: 2
Why? What exactly has the skype team accomplished? Skype was supposed to be integrated into Outlook and other MS products as a new communications backbone. They have completely failed in that mission, while delivering a product that is hardly any better than when it was first acquired.
Not saying that he should be fired or anything, but the idea that he should be moved up seems like an odd choice.


RE: Come on board members!
By Reclaimer77 on 10/11/2013 10:55:59 AM , Rating: 2
I think Skype is even less stable and more buggy than it was before MS bought it.


RE: Come on board members!
By flyingpants1 on 10/12/2013 4:03:58 AM , Rating: 2
But the Android version has improved immeasurably.


RE: Come on board members!
By YearOfTheDingo on 10/11/2013 12:35:00 AM , Rating: 2
I'd go with Elop. The guy is obviously not afraid to break some taboos. Microsoft doesn't need to do something so drastic as getting out of their traditional line of business, of course. Still, it really has to get out of this mindset that everything they do must be Windows-related. Words are already going around that Microsoft executives want to massively trim Nokia's product line. The deal hasn't even closed yet and they're talking about gutting what they just bought. It's going be aQuantive all over again unless someone get in there and stop the stupid.


RE: Come on board members!
By Reclaimer77 on 10/11/2013 7:59:19 AM , Rating: 1
Windows Phone is a loser though. The only money MS has ever made in the mobile space has been from patents I.E extorting royalty fees from Android handset makers.

Why struggle making products when you can make billions patent trolling AND hurt your competition in the process?


RE: Come on board members!
By YearOfTheDingo on 10/11/2013 11:43:14 AM , Rating: 2
In case of Nokia, getting out of the hardware business is the right thing without a doubt. While its patent portfolio generates over half a billion of steady income, the hardware division bleeds it all away. Making phones also means exposure to countersuits in patent litigation. For these reasons, the market was effectively valuing Nokia's hardware business at somewhere around negative one billion dollar. Not taking the money and run would be insane.

Microsoft, on the other hand, can afford to let mobile serve as a loss leader for their other lines of business.


RE: Come on board members!
By bug77 on 10/11/2013 3:53:21 AM , Rating: 4
So, what would that mean? Knowing Elop's track record, will Microsoft be acquired by Google, Apple or some other party?


RE: Come on board members!
By YearOfTheDingo on 10/11/2013 4:33:48 AM , Rating: 2
Imagine if Macromedia had remained an independent company, what would its shares be trading now? A tiny bit north of nothing, probably.


RE: Come on board members!
By sprockkets on 10/11/2013 10:24:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Knowing Elop's track record, will Microsoft be acquired by Google, Apple or some other party?


Nah, he'd just declare Windows8 and WP8 a burning platform, which will kill any future sales and then adopt something else.


RE: Come on board members!
By bug77 on 10/11/2013 11:46:16 AM , Rating: 2
And then he'd sell.


RE: Come on board members!
By inperfectdarkness on 10/12/2013 9:12:57 AM , Rating: 2
As an added benefit, if HTC jumps on the MS deal, having Elop at the helm might help to stem the lawsuits from Nokia against HTC...


"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer














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