Steve Ballmer

Tomorrow, Thursday 17th October, marks the release of the last version of the Windows Operating System to be overseen by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Windows 8.1 will be an update to the divisive 8 operating system, but after over 23 years at the company, it will be Ballmer’s last in charge.

(Image credit: DailyTech)

Hard to Follow?

With the company struggling to keep up with current hardware trends, Ballmer handed in his resignation back in August stating he would stay on for one more year to help choose his successor. Ballmer has been with Microsoft since 1980 and has been instrumental in past successes. However, many claim he should have stepped down sooner. After a tearful (and pretty cheesy) farewell at last month’s company meeting, a replacement can’t be too far away. We’ll take a look at the leading candidates to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft. That is of course if anybody is capable of following this…

The Candidates

There are few people capable of taking charge of such a huge company, and a handful of names have been touted with Alan Mulally rumoured to be the investors’ choice. Mulally is the current CEO of Ford and has experience in getting companies back on track after reviving Ford’s ailing automobile line. Ballmer is a known fan of Mulally too having said “changing industries can upset even the most seasoned executive. Not Alan. He understands the fundamentals of business success as well as any business leader I know”.

Stephen Elop has also been touted as a front runner. The Nokia CEO may be the logical choice as he is a current Microsoft executive and with Microsoft’s recent absorption of Nokia’s devices and services division he could be an ideal candidate to finally force the firm into the smartphone shakeup.

Another 'in-houser' that could make the step up is Julie Larson-Green, the Executive Vice-President of the Devices and Studios Department. Working directly underneath Steve Ballmer, Julie is responsible for the development of hardware such as the Xbox and the Surface tablet.

Tony Bates joined Microsoft after their acquisition of Skype in 2011, and after years of growing and developing the company is also a likely candidate for the vacant CEO position. Qi Lu, a man personally recruited to the company by Steve Ballmer, has had his name included in candidate lists too. After working for Yahoo! Qi moved on to become Executive Vice President at Microsoft, leading projects in Skype, Bing and Office.

Anyone taking bets?!

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Sources: Steve Ballmer Didn't Plan To Retire So Soon | Daily Tech Steve Ballmer Successor Search | IB Times Microsoft's Investors Want Ford's Mulally As Next CEO | The Verge Who's On The Shortlist? | ZD Net

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