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Rumor: Microsoft has a final idea for its next CEO and it may be a surpise

The time is nigh. Steve Ballmer announced his retirement plan not very long ago, leaving Microsoft quite little time to find the best candidate for its next CEO.

There have been rumors all around, highlighting key figures like Stephen Elop and Alan Mulally. Now a new round of rumors has arrived, saying that the board of directors at Microsoft has already made up their collective mind on this matter, and the decision is sort of surprising and not surprising at the same time.

Chinese site WPDang, citing an unnamed insider source, says that Steve Ballmer will be succeeded immediately by Kevin Turner, the current COO of Microsoft. Turner will stay on the post for 2 or 3 fiscal years, before giving way to Stephen Elop.

Like any other leak from insider sources, this simply cannot be confirmed or debunked until the day of revelation, so please take it with a couple of spoons of salt. The alleged decision does make its own sense though: As the COO, Turner knows Microsoft inside and out.  His temporary holding of the throne could provide a much needed buffer for Stephen Elop, who just officially came (back) to Microsoft like last month. Both Turner and Elop are popular CEO candidates, but both of them holding office in a one-two punch is probably not expected by most.

The plan sounds like a good idea, as long as Elop doesn't proceed to spin off the Xbox and Bing departments like previous rumor. Do you agree?

Source: WPDang

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Reader comments

Rumor: Microsoft has a final idea for its next CEO and it may be a surpise

135 Comments

As long as they keep Xbox and Bing Il be a happy Microsoft fanboy lol. Otherwise I will choose another path haha. But on a more serious note, lets hope they find the right candidate to lead Microsoft in the right direction.

This is true. They really should keep Xbox and Bing. Xbox is what keeps Microsoft a cool consumer company and without it, it will be a boring business oriented company like Oracle & IBM. Seriously, when was the last time regular consumers were excited about a new Oracle product? This is what will happen to Microsoft without Xbox.

Then again, Oracle are a massively profitable organization.  The corporate market is one that's completely off the radar of most of the media -- the part of the iceberg under the water, if you like.  Microsoft already generate a huge amount of revenue from the corporate market and as long as they keep that, they'll remain stable and profitable.  (It would be a great pity if they ditched either Bing or Xbox, though.  Less choice for consumers is always a bad thing, in my opinion.)

Microsoft is still much more profitable than Oracle (double) and even beats them in the corporate market alone. Also Apple are the most profitable company and they focus on consumers. Corporate is profitable but consumer is what leads the way.

True enough but you could argue that the corporate market is more stable and less prone to changing fashions than the consumer one.  Microsoft's corporate "ecosystem" is incredibly deep-rooted -- particularly with regard to Windows desktop, Windows Server, Exchange, Office, Sharepoint, SQL Server and Visual Studio, and the millions of people worldwide certified to support them -- that they undoubtedly see their corporate-oriented offerings as the rock on which everything else can be built.  If any paring down were required, you can bet your bottom dollar it wouldn't be any of the above products.

Apple, on the other hand, *have* to keep their consumer market because that's basically all they have.

Totally agree.

They should not hire anyone who wants to kill Bing and XBOX.

I wish its Elop (Only if the rumors of him wants to kill Bing and XBOX are wrong).

Why do you wish Elop was the CEO really? What impressive thing has he done that makes you wish he was the CEO? Yes he carried the Nokia WP strategy but he was hired to do it. It is not like he took that decision and risk on his own. In addition while ultimately correct I can't say that the Nokia thing played smoothly and was a great success.

Now compare this to my favourite candidate - Tony Bates of Skype fame. He sold a non-impressive product for absurdly high price, he is younger and he is tech savvy (pioneer in VoIP) and has the potential to be real visionary. Why would anyone root for Elop over Bates really?

don't get me wrong, but I do not think Major Nelson to be "CEO" kinda guy. Yes, he seems to be a nice person, down to earth and all.

 

But firstly, he is "way too small" in terms of his hirarchy in the MS Empire.

 

Second, he doesn't seem to be a business strategist. He feels to me like a tech enthusiast that loves gaming, so keeping him in the xbox division would seem like the best bet in my oppinion.

I nearly cried when I heard people wanted to dump XBox and Bing. If any future Microsoft CEO makes that silly decision I will seriously consider dumping all Microsoft products, because they will then become another IBM...boring, cold and blue.

Agree.  Keep the family together!

Bing is finally gaining traction against Google (well, in the US), it's up to 18.1% market share.  Who would've believed that a few years ago?

Are you ready to choose another path after all these years and sweat in your gamerscore? I don't think I am, will rather find another hobby.....which won't be easy for sure.

Agreed. Dropping Bing would be like dropping Zune - I don't think anyone liked that decision. And dropping Xbox, well that would be unprecedented. People would likely hate MS far more if that ever happened.

Well, the argument goes that they wouldn't 'drop' or shutter the Xbox division.  

It would just get sold to another company, or spin it off into its own seperate company, where Microsoft would still hold a major interest in.   Redmond just wouldn't have to report about the division's financials in every quarterly report.

Exactly. That had better be a rumor, else someone is clearly not thinking properly. They meld so nicely together, and after seeing the #XboxOne demo at a store, I now will be buying one. It IS worth the price tag! :) incredible graphics!

Xbox and Bing aside, I think this is a good move. There wont be enough time for Turner to really feel like he can 'make his mark' by shaking things up, and it would give Elop time to get back into the swing of things with the new vision and hopefully be able to make a much better decision when his time comes.

Agreed. It would give Elop some time to hopefully get the proper directoin of Microsoft, (and not cut Xbox & Bing) (i mean, where else would I get free $$$ for apps on WP8 & windows 8?) Elop is a great canidate, seeing what he did for Nokia. It'll be interesting to get fresh power in the office of Microsoft.

New CEO should make the individual brands popular like they did with XBOX. (Again no killing of Bing and XBOX).

Lumia - phones,

Surface - tablets (PC's),

XBOX - Living room (Games + TV),

Bing - search related in all the above devices and web,

Windows - OS that powers all these devices,

Windows store - Unified store across phones, tablets and PC's.

Skype - Communication,

Skydrive - cloud.

If you look at Microsoft moves since Windows 8 release, that is what they are working towards. 

You need to add one thing to your list. Bing/Cortana; Bing search coupled with a personalassistant.

By the Time Elop takes over, Bing and xbox will be so integrated in most of Microsoft's, he will not be able to kill it. 

You forget one: SYNC for auto. I always think SYNC has huge potential, people spend a lot of time on driving everyday, and Google & Apple both ignore this market. So instead of iwatch & iclass, MS should invest more on SYNC system.

I think you forgot something.:
Windows Server-
Visual Studio -
Sharepoint-
Outlook-
Office-
Azure-
Lync-

Etcetera.

Elop didn't come back to Microsoft last month (or at all). If/when the acquisition is approved, Elop will come back to Microsoft. Until then, he's still an employee of Nokia.

I was going to say the same thing, it's BAU right now to the point that Nokia are still going ahead with their launch of branded Windows 8 tablets which would ordinarily seem strange since Microsoft have their own Surface hybrid tablets established in the marketplace. 

Exactly nothing will change until all the due diligence and regulatory approval has been completed and approved.  That's why it's impossible for him to become CEO in the immediate timeframe of Steve Ballmer leaving because there would be an enormous conflict of interest.

That's incorrect. Microsoft purchased the Devices & Services division, which includes Asha phones, Lumia phones, and Nokia's tablets. Tablets are not a separate division of the company.

Well, the argument goes that they wouldn't 'drop' or shutter the Xbox division.  

It would just get sold to another company, or spin it off into its own seperate company, where Microsoft would still hold a major interest in.   Redmond just wouldn't have to report about the division's financials in every quarterly report.

From what I understand, Microsoft's deal with Nokia is for the entire 'Devices' division, along with the manufacturing facilities.

Elop,should never get in control of Microsoft,Ballmer did a good job in ruining a Great company,why the hell does Microsoft want to continue in loosing terrain ?

MS consistently has record quarters despite a misstep what the Surface which I believe will turn around. The XBOX has been the lead console, Bing and WP has been gaining strength. Define "ruining a great company". I'll give you the employee rank system but that's out now.

"like last month". Did anyone else thing that this gave a completely unprofessional tone to the article? I get that proofreading and promptness do not go hand in hand, but I'd have caught hell for this in high school yearbook, let alone WPCentral.

And I'm not hating at all. A mistake just is a mistake, but I thought it should be pointed out since it isn't simply the comments section.

What's with all the grammar nazis on here lately?  First day on the internet?  Ever read a print tech journal?  They were filled with grammar mistakes.  This isn't the NYT.

Oh please,if elop really had that vision for Microsoft he really shouldn't be a future CEO. Microsoft needs someone with an actual functioning brain!!

Elop would have been the best choice. But like I have said before, I believe putting Elop up there would have seemed wrong and would have given credence to the whole "Trojan Horse" theory. Would be red flags all around. I believe this rumor, especially since it says that Elop will take over in a few years.

Don't know about Kevin Turner but had Stephen Elop a few times giving talks at my site when I was at Microsoft and found him a no frills straightforward type, and I think the best speaker I have heard. Not certain he would be in it for the duration though, he seems like the type to jump around. A few months after one of his presentations, he was at Nokia, I thought it was a bit of a loss.

Well, If everything so far is true. Basically Kevin Turner has 2-3 years to make Bing and Xbox keepers. Xbox shouldn't be too difficult if every console is being sold at at least break even. Bing on the other hand.... Not that I'd miss bing too much. I do like it but it's not like it's overly different. I think the best thing they could do with bing is to introduce bing rewards to the rest of the world.

If and when Elop becomes CEO I hope that the current path of Microsoft continues and they reach their ultimate goal. I can't see Microsoft going back to a software only company. It'll move them 10 steps back and give Google and others the upper hand in various markets. Microsoft must not lose the Xbox brand it would be a huge disaster like when Sega pulled out of the console race, and I refuse to buy a console from Sony, Nintendo or what ever else may come up.

i was a big sega fan up until sony showed up.   sony killed sega. vowed to never buy anything sony from then on.  so glad playstation brand is the only hardware left thats keeping them afloat.  even they are losing to Samsung on TV's  lets not even go to phones, tablets and media players

You too? That is exactly my reason as well. I have not bought a PS and will never buy a PS. I see Xbox as being the "Sega" of the console market. I guess I am pretty brand loyal. I had a SNES for a brief moment on time...I worked at Software Etc (if anyone remembers those mall stores) so I had access to all of that stuff...got rid of it quickly and stuck with Sega...until the demise.

I cannot see MS ditching either brand I exclusively use Bing (I find it much more rewarding than Google, plus it is in everything I have) and of course as stated above Xbox.

Same here, I grew up playing Sega consoles. The Saturn mostly then I got my Dreamcast the second day it came out. I stuck with it until 2002 when I got my Xbox for Christmas. I can remember the day like if it were yesterday. I also have a GameCube but I was never really a Nintendo fan, I guess its still the Sega stigma I retained lol.

After the Xbox and Bing comment, I dont trust Elop at all. I dont want to see his fat name anywhere near this company. Top level execs lie through their teeth all the time. I dont believe a word out of his mouth now.

I really hope its NOT Elop. After what he did with Nokia, I dont trust him anymore and most probably he will sell off Bing & Xbox. A good CEO should try to turnaround the non-profit segments, not just chop off the company and sell it in pieces. The latter is  exactly what Elop did at Nokia.

I guess if compromise is called for, then sell Bing. But they had better retain XBox and WP. But even I hope Bing doesn't get sold off. Don't like Google's search engine.

Can't sell Bing, Bing is part of so much from consumer to business apps. Kevin Turner is an operations guy, he will do good things to bottom line, Xbox might be on list but he's not good for innovation.

Elop will be an Eflop. May as well start calling him Eflop.

Bing powers search across Windows devices, why remove search? Xbox gives Microsoft a better cool hip image... Why kill off some things that people love, become used to and desire just to save a buck? Bing still a loss is getting closer to making it to the black. Better strategy will do the same for Xbox.

Investors and analysts don't care about people, anymore than they care about the companies they invest in...it's all money, man! =(

Elop has become the greatest anti-Microsoft man with his recent reportedly declarations. Nobody wants him near MS anymore. Keep him away from anything Microsoft!

I'm sick of internals being coined as the next CEO... they need to bring people from the outside in order to balance and revitalize the company... end of story...

Gah, I freaking HOPE not! I'm sorry, but Bates and Nadella are the beat options so far, and they're not tooting their own horn so much...but maybe that's part of the problem. Elop is just proving to be too much of a wild card lately and Turner...I think he has quite enough leverage, are they just trying to make him feel better? =/

the sensible COO is a logical choice (2-3 years) to see this huge transition in place and unification of all their "windows" products. MS does not nee disruption at this point, nor short term gains (selling BING which is laughable, or XBOX which is equally as stupid).. they need to execute a game plan that has been bungled by a sloppy and divided team .

To me, this signals that the real decisions will be made at the SVP layer, and the CEO (at least for the time being) will be more of an administrative role and less of an evangelist role.

Not bad. But I am surprised to know that they ignored satya nadella, who is the best among them. I thought it will be either satya nadella or steven elop. But when rumours came that steven want's to kill xbox and bing, I removed him from the list.I hope they will make right chocie.

Who would have. Thought that I would have thought I want to keep balmer. (not me a year ago) now I don't think elop is right fit anymore. Person was right major nelson for CEO

Not Turner! Pick a technology savvy person like Dave Cutler. He's the only one that's tough enough and has the respect to get the development groups in order. He doesn't suffer fools and will be "in charge". That's what MSFT needs right now, not another businessman.

elop is scary, look at what happened to HP with an overly agressive CEO. Bad things happen when something tries to make a giant Corp. do just one thing.

I think the decision is clear. We as Microsoft consumer fans don't want a Microsoft without Bing or Xbox. Simple as that. If you dump these products we will go elsewhere. Keep the one unified strategy. Is there a letter or petition going to Microsoft regarding this? I'd sure like to sign.

Exactly. This is why im a Microsoft fan. I see the vision they are trying to create and I think its amazing. If they change course on that vision, I most likely will bail. Hard as that may be.

I think a modern CEO for a company such as MS must have a techy past, must be a geek or an ex-geek. Not a salesman...

Look at google and such, full of techy heads... that leads faster innovation/change (rather than obsession in pushing sales)

I kid you not. I will NEVER purchase another Microsoft product again (Xbox One and Surface 2 owner here) if they sell off the Xbox and Bing business. Xbox is an identifying part of MS and one of the only reasons I've stuck with MS all this time.

They'd not sell Bing. Because no one would want to buy it. Bing is to be terminated. Xbox is the one meant to be sold (to whom? No one knows. But it wouldn't be the first time they did this kind of stupid move. Look at Ensemble Studios)

Microsoft should admit that people are going to buy touchscreen computers once Windows 9.x arrives..... They usually sad bad things about touchscreens because so they can help themselves skip Windows 8.x.... I think Windows 9 should have touchscreen support as quickly as possible..... Overtime, all computers would have touchscreens in the longrun.... People will never be stupid even if Windows 9 is incredible upgrade to Windows 8.x......... Keep Kevin Turner in for longer term as quickly as possible......... No more outsiders..........................                      

Breaking up MSFT would be the most enormous corporate blunder EVER! Don't listen to hedge funds, they make terrible decisions.

IF the Elop spinoff rumors are true, then I can see this as being a good move. I ultimately want Elop to be the CEO, but he wants to spinoff such key and popular divisions, then I'd rather see more time added so that Bing and XBOX can become so integrated with Windows that spinning them off is just not possible.

Key and popular divisions? Bing? LOL Come on dude. Xbox, yeah. But Bing is a joke for anyone who isn't a Microsoft fan (and even to many that are).

I would still prefer Tony Bates, but anyone will do...anyone that's not that disgusting Eflop.
My late dog would be a better CEO than Eflop.

WPCentral readers, you guys are supposed to be a little smarter than an everage person right? IQ 100, at least? Bloomberg said someone will sell XBox, you just believe it. Even a 3 year old knows that's BS.

“We appreciate Bloomberg’s foray into fiction and look forward to future episodes,” said Frank Shaw, a spokesman for Microsoft.

 

Well, I don't think Kevin will get the job. Not a chance. But if "more of the same", that's be more than qualified. I am not your regular Ballmer hater, so you know.

Don't want Elop at all, ever, if he has designs to drop Xbox or Bing. Big reason I'm an Xbox fan and a Microsoft fan is how tied together their services and features are, and knowing the R&D and financial resources Microsoft has to put behind Xbox.

As long as it is NOT Elop. He already dropped one OS to put WP on. I don't think he'll have any problem dropping Windows Phone OS to drop in google's android crap if he thinks it will make him an extra dollar.