Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Best candidates to replace Ballmer at Microsoft

The search for a replacement for Steve Ballmer will be a difficult task depending on the strategy that Microsoft will be taking. There are, however, a few top candidates that should be of interest.

As reported, the board of Microsoft has decided to fire Steve Ballmer and the search for the replacement CEO has started and in addition given a 12-month deadline. The replacement will clearly reflect the strategy that Microsoft will undertake in the future. For example, Bill Gates is commonly associated with the person that managed to dominate the PC market, Steve Ballmer, on the other hand, is associated with the person who attempted to enter the mobile segment, but failed. Therefore, a future CEO will likely have strong roots in the mobile segment if Microsoft decides to continue to pursue this segment, which is the most likely scenario.

Currently the top 5 best candidates for replacing the Steve Ballmer can be summarized by. 
  • Terry Myerson:  Myerson is currently part of Microsoft and is leading the operating system group where his task is to ensure synergistic behavior of the Windows operating systems and the Xbox operating system. If Myerson is chosen, then Microsoft will have to invest more efforts in finding a replacement for Myerson.
  • Qi Lu: Lu is the leading the group of application and services within Microsoft. A large part of Lu's work involves bringing together Office, Bing, Sharepoint and other service programs to form a sensible and logical package. Lu would be the logical candidate if Microsoft decide to focus more as a service oriented company.
  • Stephen Elop: Elop is today the CEO of Nokia but formerly he was the manager of the business division at Microsoft. Being a former key player of Microsoft, it would make sense to recruit Elop back to Microsoft and utilize the knowledge he has gained in mobile devices over the years in Nokia. It should also be noted that Elop resigned from his position due him being unhappy with his former role and position, thus he may not be very thrilled about an eventual return to Microsoft.
  • Julie Larson-Green: The leader of the hardware segment, including the Xbox and the Surface products. Larson-Green has a past in product planning, design and distribution of Windows 7, Windows 8 and the upcoming Windows 8.1.
  • Steven Sinofsky: Sinofsky resigned from Microsoft recently and became partner with the consultant firm Andreessen Horowitz due to conflicts in the work of the Windows 8 release.
No matter who Microsoft decides to give the CEO role, it is clear that the company faces big challenges and is threatened on multiple fronts simultaneously, something which is historically unique. The question is if such a large company at all is agile enough to combat a battle on multiple fronts.

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