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.

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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