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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:]

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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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.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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