Who Could (or Would) Replace Steve Ballmer?

Windows 8 logo (blue)
Windows 8 logo (blue)

For the hundredth time, analysts speculated that Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer will be pushed out because of the failure of Windows 8 to quickly gain sales.

A recent IDC report blamed a poor reaction to the operating system for a 14% drop in PC sales in the first quarter. The news dragged down the shares of PC manufacturers and chip providers. The Windows 8 case against Ballmer can be added to Microsoft's late entry into search and its lack of success in the mobile markets.

The speculation gets married with more speculation about who would take Ballmer's job. Much of the guessing centers around Microsoft chairman and founder Bill Gates. He left day-to-day responsibilities behind when he retired more than a decade ago. He currently spends much of his time giving away his fortune. However, Gates may feel that his legacy is at stake as Microsoft flounders. Wall St. would not accept many of the other alternatives because few people have the background to turn around the world's largest software company. The best candidates, including Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) Chairman Eric Schmidt, are not going to leave their current positions.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Corporate Governance, Management Change, Rumors, Software, Technology Companies Tagged: GOOG, MSFT