Talking tech since 2003

According to a Bloomberg report published today, Microsoft’s Board of Directors is said to be meeting on November 18th to discuss the one thing everybody in the technology industry is talking about – no, not Windows 8, but rather who will be the next chief executive officer of Microsoft.

Citing a person with insider knowledge, the report claims that Microsoft’s board is interested in cutting down the list of possible candidates to just three to five people. Steven Ballmer, the current CEO of Microsoft who has overseen the company launch a series of hits and misses – including Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Phone, and the Microsoft Surface – has said that he will stay around for up to a year to help the board settle on a replacement.

But Microsoft’s search appears to be wrapping up more rapidly than even Ballmer had predicted, with the board said to be planning on conducting interviews with the final candidates over the next couple of weeks. Microsoft is presumably eager to find a chief with a new vision for the faltering company, which has fallen behind competitors Apple and Google in many key aspects under Ballmer’s supervision, particularly in the smartphone market.

The candidates? That’s all private information that’s staying close to the board, of course, but reports have indicated that Microsoft is eyeing several individuals from both inside and outside the company. Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally seems to be a leading candidate, while former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop – who recently returned to Microsoft under the terms of the upcoming Microsoft/Nokia merger – is said to also be a frontrunner with that all important intimate knowledge of the computer-technology industry, as well as a respect and understanding of Microsoft’s existing corporate culture.

Aside from Mulally and Elop, both Tony Bates – Microsoft’s chief of business development and evangelism – and Satya Nadella – the company’s head of cloud and enterprise business – are said to be candidates from within Microsoft. Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner also appears to be on the list, however it remains unknown if any of these seemingly less prominent candidates will make it far beyond Microsoft’s November 18th discussions.

Microsoft is in a state of flux, and the transition between Steve Ballmer and his replacement will have to be as smooth and quick as possible if Microsoft wants to have any chance at all at getting back in the game. To say that Microsoft’s current lineup of offerings is a bit rocky would be somewhat of an understatement, and the company desperately needs somebody new in there to get things done. Let’s hope that November 18th will be a productive day for Microsoft, and therefor a productive day for the entire industry.

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