Microsoft: the contenders to replace Steve Ballmer


Running Microsoft is not for the fainthearted: its software is essential to millions of companies around the world, and more than 1 billion people use PCs with its Windows software. The new chief executive will have to fit into a unique corporation.

External contendersStephen Elop, 49, chief executive at Nokia, the Finnish mobile phone group, since September 2010. Oversaw Nokia's high-risk shift to the Windows platform. A former Microsoft insider, having been the head of the Office division. He has intimate knowledge of the mobile market that is key to Microsoft's future, but he also understands the enterprise side of Microsoft, which sells services to big businesses. Chance: high

Steve Sinofsky, 48, fired in November after overseeing the poorly received launch of Windows 8. Now independent, after 23 years at Microsoft. He is a potential frontrunner. Chance: high

Vic Gundotra, 45. At Microsoft from 1991 to 2007 but now high up at Google as senior vice-president of engineering.His appointment would bring knowledge of how Google relentlessly innovates and captures the technological initiative. But would those techniques thrive in a different environment? Chance: low

Internal contenders

Julie Larson-Green, 51. a Microsoft employee since 1993, Larson-Green has worked on hardware (Xbox, Surface) and software (Office, Windows). Head of the new devices and studio engineering group, and is part of the company's new direction. Chance: high

Satya Nadella, 44, is head of the cloud and enterprise group, in charge of programmes such as Azure, a cloud computing service A 22-year Microsoft veteran. Chance: high

Qi Lu, 51. Oversees the Bing search engine, Skype and Office. He is a relative newcomer, having joined Microsoft in 2008, but has a high-profile position. Engineering skills would make him a popular choice with staff. Chance: high

Kevin Turner, 49: chief operating officer for the past eight years. Looks after sales and marketing. Chance: medium

Powered by article was written by Charles Arthur, for The Guardian on Tuesday 27th August 2013 22.18 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © C.P.Storm

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