It was only on Friday that Microsoft announced that current CEO Steve Ballmer would be exiting the company in the next twelve months, but that hasn’t stopped the media from speculating on who will replace him. The Sunday Times of London is now reporting that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who used to work under Ballmer as a senior executive—something that always bothered Nokia advocates who saw him as threat to the Finnish phone maker—as one of the favorites for the position.
One could argue that Elop does have the skills to turn around companies who are seemingly set on a wrong course, though he doesn’t come without controversy either. Many former Nokia supporters have consistently called for his ouster since his famous burning platform memo, which called for drastic change within the company for it to survive.
The Sunday Times also goes on to mention Skype manager Tony Bates and former CEO of VMware Paul Maritz (who was previously at Microsoft), as other candidates. But perhaps the most interesting rumored entrant is none other than Bill Gates himself, though the Times does not back that claim and indeed, it seems highly unlikely.
Who will replace Ballmer at Microsoft will surely be one of the most interesting stories in 2014 but we’re still a ways off from an official announcement. The question is, if Elop leaves for Microsoft, who will take over at Nokia?