Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Janet I. Tu.
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December 5, 2013 at 8:11 AM
Well, this might throw a wrench into widespread speculation that Ford CEO Alan Mulally will be named Microsoft CEO shortly.
Edsel Ford II, a Ford company director, told Bloomberg News that “Alan is staying through the end of 2014 and that’s all I know” and that Mulally had “told us that his plan is to stay with Ford through the end of 2014.”
Mulally has never flat-out denied that he was being courted for the top Microsoft job or that he was interested. He has said — and Ford spokesman have reiterated several times — that “nothing has changed” regarding his plans to stay with Ford at least through next year.
It’s still plausible that Mulally could come to Microsoft late next year, given that when current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement last August, he gave a 12-month window in which to do so.
Microsoft shares are trading this morning at $37.53, down about 3.6 percent.
November 6, 2013 at 2:40 PM
On the heels of yesterday’s report that Microsoft has narrowed its short list for possible CEOs to succeed retiring CEO Steve Ballmer, veteran Microsoft analyst Rick Sherlund, with investment bank Nomura, is predicting that Alan Mulally will be named Microsoft’s new CEO by December.
Based on his conversations with industry contacts, Sherlund said, he believes the three top candidates being considered by Microsoft’s search committee are Ford CEO and former Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Mulally, Boeing chairman and CEO James McNerney, and Tyco chairman and former Tyco CEO Edward Breen. Sherlund does not believe any internal candidates are at the top of the short list — including Nokia Devices & Services head Stephen Elop, who is expected to return to Microsoft once Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia if finalized.
And, based on those conversations with industry contacts, Sherlund says, he believes that “consensus has come together that Mulally is the guy.”
November 5, 2013 at 5:11 PM
Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Nokia Devices & Services head Stephen Elop, Microsoft Business Development head (and former Skype CEO) Tony Bates, and Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise group chief Satya Nadella are apparently among those on a short list of candidates to replace retiring Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, according to a Reuters report.
Ballmer announced in August that he would retire once his successor has been found — a process expected to take a maximum of 12 months.
Naming the new CEO could still take several more months, according to the Reuters report.
Microsoft shares, meanwhile, closed Tuesdsay at $36.64, up 70 cents and a six-year high.
October 8, 2013 at 8:16 AM
[This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times Oct. 8, 2013.]
Does Microsoft need co-CEOs to succeed Steve Ballmer?
Or does it need a benevolent dictator?
Would it be better served by a tech visionary or a good turnaround manager at the helm?
Since Ballmer announced he would retire as CEO once his successor has been found — something expected before the end of next August — there have been plenty of rumors and speculation.
The Seattle Times asked several tech, management and business experts what they think Microsoft needs in its next chief executive and what they think of some of the top-rumored candidates: Alan Mulally, Ford’s chief executive and former Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO; Paul Maritz, Pivotal chief executive, former VMware CEO and a former top-ranking Microsoft executive; Stephen Elop, most recently Nokia CEO, who will return to being a top-ranking Microsoft executive once the company’s purchase of Nokia is finalized; and Tony Bates, former Skype president and current Microsoft executive vice president for business development and evangelism.
Whoever takes the helm will have control of a corporate behemoth that last fiscal year saw nearly $78 billion in sales, produces the most used computer-operating system, and has tentacles in nearly every aspect of consumer and business computing.
But the new CEO will also face the huge challenge of increasing Microsoft’s footprint in the new computing world of mobile devices, where it has very little market share, and in the cloud, where it competes with earlier entrants such as Amazon.com.
[Continue reading the story here.]
September 27, 2013 at 8:58 AM
Microsoft shares closed up 1.5 percent today, trading at $33.27.
Is that due to this report in AllThingsD saying that former Boeing Commercial Airplanes and current Ford CEO Alan Mulally is now the top contender to succeed outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer?
Ballmer announced last month that he would be retiring within 12 months, once his successor has been chosen.
August 26, 2013 at 6:00 AM
There was Windows Vista, but then came Windows 7.
There was the Kin, but there was also the Xbox.
The company fell way behind on mobile, but it still plays a huge role in corporations.
Microsoft has had many stumbles and failings over the years, but it’s also had its successes and strengths.
That bad-news, good-news split is indicative of the challenges, and the advantages, facing any successor to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.
Ballmer, who has been CEO for 13 years, announced Friday that he would be retiring once his successor has been chosen within the next 12 months.
Here are five challenges, and five advantages, his successor will face.
Microsoft actually came out with a smartphone and a tablet before Apple came out with the iPhone or iPad.
But it was Apple that figured out how to make those devices wildly popular to consumers.
These days, Microsoft has only about a 3.3 percent worldwide market share in smartphones — although that’s slowly inching up — and Windows Phone has overtaken BlackBerry as the No. 3 smartphone operating system.
Similarly, Windows tablets’ market share went up from 1 percent to 4.5 percent over the past year, according to research firm IDC.
But if Microsoft doesn’t continue to make inroads on mobile devices, “They will start to see some market erosion in their other businesses,” said Norman Young, analyst with investment research firm Morningstar.
2. Post-PC era
We are in what some call the “post-PC era,” or, as Microsoft likes to call it, the “PC-plus era.”
Whatever the case, it means that people are turning less to their PCs and more to their mobile devices to accomplish much of what they used to do on their desktops or laptops.
And that’s a huge worry for Microsoft.
For many years, Microsoft has had a cash cow in Windows. But now that the PC market isn’t growing, while the markets for tablets and smartphones are, that source of revenue is slowing.
Another related problem: The margins for Microsoft on smartphones or tablets are lower than what it gets from PC manufacturers.
“Any time a PC is sold by Dell, HP or Lenovo, if it’s a consumer-oriented product, Microsoft sees about $40 to $50,” said Al Gillen, an analyst with research firm IDC. “If it’s enterprise (meaning corporations), it’s more like $100 for Microsoft.
“The license fee per unit for phones and tablets are not going to be in the same magnitudes,” Gillen said. “Which means Microsoft has to adjust its thinking to lower price, lower margin but much higher volume.”
The next CEO, said J.P. Gownder, an analyst with research firm Forrester, “really needs to come to terms with the relative decline of the PC as a computing tool.”
Xbox aside, Microsoft has had a hard time connecting with consumers on a number of its products.
Its Surface tablet — particularly the Surface RT model — has not sold well. Windows 8 is getting a lukewarm reception. Windows tablets and smartphones have yet to break 5 percent worldwide market share.
And rightly or wrongly, Microsoft is still fighting the image left over from those old Apple Mac vs PC commercials: That it’s stodgy, corporate, boring.
The company has been battling that image with marketing efforts such as Surface commercials featuring dancing tablet users and product launches featuring sports stars and other celebrities.
[Continue reading the story here.]