Former Nokia boss Stephen Elop: The next Microsoft CEO?

by Doug Drinkwater

September 3 2013

Stephen Elop is one of the favorites to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO
Stephen Elop is one of the favorites to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO

It looks increasingly likely that Stephen Elop will replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft, following the latter’s acquisition of Nokia’s phone business. 

Elop left Nokia to re-join Microsoft as Executive VP of Devices and Services following Microsoft’s deal to buy the handset business for $7.2 billion.

The former Nokia chief executive remains the bookies’ favorite to replace Steve Ballmer, who retires in 12 months, with Ballmer himself doing little to pour scorn on the idea in an interview with The Seattle Times.

“Stephen will go from an external [candidate] to internal. The board will continue to [look at] all appropriate candidates through that process,” said Ballmer, who made similar comments to The Verge.

Elop is now in his second stint at Redmond having been in charge Microsoft’s business division prior to becoming Nokia CEO in September 2010.

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  • John Swain
    1 year 2 months ago

    Stephen Elop has eloped with Steven Ballmer in the corporate marriage of the decade.
    Did this conversation of "Trojan Horse" strategy take place?

    Ballmer: "Stephen, this is Steven, saaay, have I got a proposal for youuu."

    Elop: "Just whisper it in my ear. Our Cloud division manager just told me the SEC has a tap on my line."

    Ballmer: "Good point. I like you, your always thinking." "OK, here's the plan....You accept the CEO position at Nokia."

    Elop: "What? I've got kids in school right here in Redmond. I'm not going to Finland."

    Ballmer: "Stay with me on this. We need a mobile phone for our operating system."

    Elop: "Yeah, but Nokia uses Symbian. What makes you think I can get them to switch?

    Ballmer: "To quote a close friend of mine, "We'll make them an offer they can't refuse."

    Elop: "And you want me to send them a message?"

    Ballmer: "No, I want you to tell them we've had a falling out." "And you are willing to bring them all of your 'experience.' "Once inside, you make the OS switch."

    Elop: "But they are currently the hottest selling mobile phone out there, what makes you think I can get them to roll over?

    Ballmer: "Convince them that Android is just a flash in the pan, and Symbian doesn't stand a chance, and you can deliver Windows on a silver platter."

    Elop: "Brilliant, then what ?"

    Ballmer: "We break them down, little by little, until they are too weak to make it on their own.
    Then, as a consoling friend, we offer to buy them out."

    Elop: "Do you think it will work?"

    Ballmer: "Like a charm, and we'll lend them some money on top of it all."

    Elop: "What for?"

    Ballmer: "Because Nokia is going to be so weak, we will buy out the rest of the company as a creditor for a dime on the dollar. The EU is not going to approve a buyout for the whole company right now, but we can get it later without a fight."

    Elop: "What's in it for me?"

    Ballmer: "I got to retire out before this thing hits the fan. So..... I'll propose that you are he best man at our wedding, and who better than you, to be our next CEO."

    Elop: "Yippeee"

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