Ballmer's leaving: Who's next?

Ballmer's leaving: Who's next?

Summary: Steve Ballmer said he's leaving his CEO position Microsoft in a year, but there's no real frontrunner for his succession. Here's our top 10 contenders.

TOPICS: Microsoft

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  • Kevin Turner

    Microsoft Steve Ballmer announced that he is stepping down from his position as CEO — one that he has held for 13 years. The first question we all have is who will be his successor? Ballmer hasn't appeared to be preparing anyone specifically for the job so Mary Jo Foley has put this list together.

    One of the names most prominently is current COO Kevin Turner. He was the frontrunner at one point but his stock his fallen recently.

  • Tony Bates

     Microsoft acquired Tony Bates along with its purchase of Skype. He's been running Skype and has moved up the ranks recently as the head of business development and evangelism. Mary Jo Foley says he's near the top.


Topic: Microsoft

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  • No non-technical people

    that's been a problem at Microsoft for a while... so no Turner, no Rellar; they need a techie lead.
    • Scott or Satya

      one of them or bring back Allard.
      Ram U
      • Allard

        The fact that you put the man responsible for the Kin, Zune, Courier, and the $1B support write off of the Xbox 360 as a candidate for CEO, tells me all I need to know.
    • Agreed, sort of

      Well, I would agree that innovation strategy & technology vision at a unassailable leadership level would be a smart idea - like the Bill Gates era where his word could contest that of the CEO or COO. But this role is not that of a CEO. The CEO is all about articulating business strategy & increasing shareholder value both short & long term. Being CEO would waste those talents.

      I agree that between Steve (profit/income/execution) & Kevin (operational costs) there's been a lack of focus on where the rubber meets the road: The technology innovation that addresses customer needs. Look at Windows 8.1: Great product for mobile, touch & wireless... and maybe kiosk roles. But if you're not interested in this area of technology, 8.1 offers you little. Oh sure, there's lots of IT management technology in 8.1... But IT doesn't sign the checks these days.

      An end to end view of the business and usage scenarios of Microsoft technology is what is needed at the top leadership level - whether its a Chief Technology Architect role or what. Someone to manage just the innovation side on behalf of customers without looking a either a) income or b) operational costs first.

      The current model sacrifices the last mile of solutions development setting thr bar too low and resulting in incomplete solutions in favor of margin IMHO.
    • Steve Jobs was a non technical person

      He seemed to do pretty well.
      William Farrel
      • Microsoft isn't Apple

        Microsoft has a broader much more technical product line. You need a CEO that can, if asked what he thinks of Azure app fabric. Do more than tell them to take the extra button off.
  • Hire the hot chick

    It gets Yahoo in the news all the time
    • Add ribbon and remove start button

      .. and people will keep whining for years.
  • Microsoft openminded legend

    What about Scott Guthrie? He can transform company to becoming number one again in 21st century. He should be the candidate of choice in my opinion.
    • Wow.

      Maybe Chief Architect... But CEO? Really? REALLY? Talk about a mismatch.
  • Microsoft Needs A "Steve Jobs"

    Microsoft does not need good managers or bean counters which most of the so-called candidates appear to be.

    Microsoft needs a proven visionary with foreknowledge and insight of what comes next. Microsoft needs a CEO with demonstrable integrity to do what is right for customers and --especially-- do what is right for software developers and systems integrators.

    The only person that we know fills those shoes is Ray Ozzie.

    -- @virtualCableTV
  • MS must die

    There are two sets of people: the set who know how to save Microsoft, and the set who are willing to try. The intersection of these sets is the empty set.
  • The next boss...

    What about Steve Jobs? Even posthumously, he'd do a better job than Ballmer and all of these B-listers.
    • re The next boss...

      O gawd! Stop dragging his rotten carcass around already, the guys been long dead!
  • The best choice

    The best choice now is Mark Russinovich. It's his time.
  • They need someone with the common sense..

    to know there is a market for XP and W7 I would gladly pay MS $50 to keep W7 up to date with the latest, something i would rather have and not a new OS with a new UI.
    • Hurr, this site deleted part of my post.

      Anyway there is a market for W8, maybe but really it needs to be left open to the consumers, not forced upon. Users want to stick with XP or W7 so it might be easier to just update the system and let users pay for a subscription fee or something so that way everyone is happy. I never ever use W8 and i am willing to learn Linux if necessary. Despite a lack of software i would rather do that then to continue on with MS if they don't wanna listen to CONSUMER FEEDBACK!
  • Your lack of imagination matches Microsoft's...

    ... I'm sure these are all fine people, but I don't know enough about enough of them to have a view.

    However, your assuption that the appointee will be internal rather than external merely hightlights the inertia problem.

    You can pick your analogy; Microsoft is a brontosauraus surrounded by velociraptors, or my currentt favourite; Microsoft is an Aircraft Carrier deperately trying to change course, now that they've realised the lighthouse is stubbornly refusing to move for them.

    Microsoft is too big, too slow. Has been for 10 years. And it's wedded to a business model that the world no longer recognises.

    Ballmer never quite 'got' this; his reorganization still insisted that the world MUST do things Microsoft's way. They need new blood; big blood, couraeous blood. Some one who will make the company realise that if only they'd change, they have a great future ahead of them - but they need to turn 180 degrees, as their future is currently behind them.

    I'm betting one nice dollar that if they have the courage to do it, they can get good after two years of pain - and another change of CEO to make it stick.
  • i vote for