Set to depart Nokia, Stephen Elop eyed as top candidate for CEO of Microsoft

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Some motivation behind Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's handset division may be to tap CEO Stephen Elop as the successor to outgoing Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, observers have speculated.

Elop


Ballmer and Elop were asked about the possibility of Elop becoming Microsoft's next CEO in an interview with The Verge. Ballmer, who will have input on Microsoft's next leader, declined to say whether Elop is now Microsoft's top choice for CEO.

"Our board will consider everybody," Ballmer said. "They will do it in private ??that's the right way for the board to conduct its business."

But he did go one step further in a separate interview with The Seattle Times, saying the purchase of Nokia's phone division will take Elop from an "external to internal" candidate.

Microsoft's CEO also revealed that the deal to buy Nokia's phone business was in place before he announced his plans to retire within the next year. Ballmer plans to call it quits once his successor has been chosen, bringing to an end his 13-year tenure as Microsoft CEO.

Ballmer


Ballmer's impending departure comes after his company failed to respond quickly enough to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platform. As a result, Microsoft's Windows Phone devices have largely floundered in the market, which is dominated by Apple and Google.

Elop was former head of Microsoft's Office division before he was snagged by Nokia to take over as CEO. Nokia announced on Monday that Elop will resign as part of Microsoft's proposed $7.2 billion buyout of its mobile division, citing potential conflicts of interest.

Once at Nokia, one of Elop's first decisions was to issue a scathing memo in which he compared the company's Symbian platform to a burning oil platform. Nokia, he said, was akin to a man standing on that platform, "faced with the decision to die in a fire or plunge into the icy sea."

Elop's solution was to switch Nokia to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform for its high-end smartphones. But that strategy has seen Nokia remain a marginal player in the smartphone space, while Apple and Samsung have dominated in hardware marketshare.



Over the years at Microsoft, Ballmer has drawn the ire of some Apple supporters for comments disparaging the iPhone, iPad, Mac and other platforms. In one infamous incident, Ballmer saw a Microsoft employee taking a picture of him with an iPhone, which prompted him to take the device, place it on the ground, and pretend stomping on it.

Elop had his own similar incident earlier this year during a television interview, when he took the host's iPhone and tossed it on the floor.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39


    Not exactly a visionary. And not particularly competent. 


     


    It's been nearly three years and Windows Phone barely has any traction in major markets. 


     


    Will there be a complete reset of this entire MS non-starting venture into mobile?


     


    Will MS pull off a June 2007 or January 2010 and change the game entirely?


     


    The platform itself, in light of Android and iOS, is monumentally redundant.

  • Reply 2 of 39
    If true, I believe it is a reward for loyalty to Ballmer and Microsoft. Elop gave Microsoft most of its floundering Windows Phone business, and kept Nokia out of Android land. It's a loyalty reward, and guarantees that under Elop, nothing will change.
  • Reply 3 of 39
    Elop had his own similar incident earlier this year during a television interview, when he <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/03/22/nokia-ceo-dodges-premium-lumia-questions-throws-iphone">took the host's iPhone</a> and tossed it on the floor.

    I'll say this: Elop and Ballmer both respect the personal property of others who don't buy Microsoft. /s
  • Reply 4 of 39


    I seriously believe that Windows Phone was (and is) holding Nokia back.


     


    Having said that, I believe elop was also holding Nokia back and looks like an ugly monkey (as a professional). Let's inject him with rage and fury, and we have the perfect sucessor for Ballmer. How long can he throw a chair? How many chairs at the same time? you have to improve this year elop.

  • Reply 5 of 39
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    If true, I believe it is a reward for loyalty to Ballmer and Microsoft. Elop gave Microsoft most of its floundering Windows Phone business, and kept Nokia out of Android land. It's a loyalty reward, and guarantees that under Elop, nothing will change.
    All the more reason that Elop will probably be CEO. No doubt he's. 100% on board with Microsoft's plunge in to hardware.
  • Reply 6 of 39
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,876member
    Strange, as Elop was thought to be at risk at Nokia because of the failure of Win Phone gaining enough sales after this amount of time. Also, Nokia was trying very hard for several years to get rid of their networking g business, which will now be their main business.
  • Reply 7 of 39
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,876member
    If true, I believe it is a reward for loyalty to Ballmer and Microsoft. Elop gave Microsoft most of its floundering Windows Phone business, and kept Nokia out of Android land. It's a loyalty reward, and guarantees that under Elop, nothing will change.

    There is no way a company the size of Microsoft gives someone the top position because of loyalty alone.
  • Reply 8 of 39


    I just don't see what will change substantially with this move. 


     


    And there needs to be a substantial change to the platform. It's barely got any traction. It's got no panache. It's got three years of market exposure where consumers have given it a pass. It's stuck between iOS and Android, both of which already have all the bases covered. 


     


    MS taking over the operation means very, very little. MS also runs the Surface business. Which is essentially a completely flop. 

  • Reply 9 of 39
    dgnr8dgnr8 Posts: 196member


    How well is Motorola doing for Google?


     


    Seems Android has created more success for their competitor/customer than it is for them (meaning Moto).


     


    So makes me think this is the biggest win Nokia could have ever dreamed of happening.


     


    But for Microsoft?


     


    If Microsoft parlays this purchase the right way this could correct a lot of mistakes on MS part.


     


    However with the CEO position in disarray at the moment I think this purchase is a mistake.


     


    Should always solidify leadership before making decisions of product or software road map.


     


    This is a perfect example of what is hurting MS, bad decisions at the wrong time.


     


    Say what you want about Mr. Gates but he did know what he wanted to do with the company and did what he had to do to get it there good or bad.


     


    Just the way I see it.

  • Reply 10 of 39


    Why not announce this with Ballmer's retirement? Why not delay Ballmer's retirement announcement a couple of weeks so they could announce Elop as the next CEO? They already know this guy, why haven't they given him the job already?


     


    I don't see this happening.

  • Reply 11 of 39
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post





    I'll say this: Elop and Ballmer both respect the personal property of others who don't buy Microsoft. /s


    That interviewer was very annoying... how many times can a guy say I'm not going to answer?

  • Reply 12 of 39
    Melgross quote:
    "There is no way a company the size of Microsoft gives someone the top position because of loyalty alone."

    How do you think Ballmer got the job?
  • Reply 13 of 39

    OK Steve Ballmer .<>.  Stephen Elop.... sonds like things at MS will stay the same. IMHO

  • Reply 14 of 39
    meh 2meh 2 Posts: 149member


    Watching Elop in the video, I can't shake the comical impression that when he smiles he looks too similar to Neal McDonough, the smarmy character actor that recently appeared in the TV series "Justified." When he is smiling, he is at his deadliest.


     


    Unfair to pose as a legitimate inquiry, but will be interesting to see if he knifes Balmer in the same way McDonough knifed the mafia family he worked for.


     


    It can be interesting how closely fact sometimes follows fiction.


     


    On a similar note, interesting that Microsoft, given the chance to replace Ballmer with a John Galt type - or however you might like to characterize the type of enterprise-wide savior of which MS is in obvious need - may give the nod to a person who, thus far, has not exactly exuded the Atlas leadership for which they have the opportunity to search.

  • Reply 15 of 39


    Is this some kind of demented alternate reality of the "Twilight Zone" kind?


     


    Imagine, if you will, a fat, bald headed man screaming all over a stage, working for a company that purchases another to bring back patents and hardware devices and a possible iCEO to fulfill said fat, bald headed mans transition to a devices and service company...


     


    Similar to Apple, buying NExT for their OS and Steve Jobs and having that iCEO turnaround the company with breakthrough visionary profitable products.


     


    I just don't see it happening that way for Microsoft, sorry.


     


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b5aW08ivHU

  • Reply 16 of 39
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    If true, I believe it is a reward for loyalty to Ballmer and Microsoft. Elop gave Microsoft most of its floundering Windows Phone business, and kept Nokia out of Android land. It's a loyalty reward, and guarantees that under Elop, nothing will change.




    There is no way a company the size of Microsoft gives someone the top position because of loyalty alone.


    Isn't that how Ballmer got the job?

  • Reply 17 of 39
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    There's two ways of looking at Elop's reign at Nokia:


     


    1) He came to Nokia as a fresh, independent CEO. He chose Windows Phone because he believed that it was the platform to make Nokia a success again. Despite his efforts, the share price took a nose-dive, Windows Phone sales never came close to those of Symbian (despite the expanded market for smartphones) and the company lurched between modest profit and loss. He was an utter failure as a CEO.


     


    2) He was a Microsoft agent from the start. He drove Nokia's share price down to a level that Microsoft could afford (less than Google paid for Motorola, less than Microsoft even paid for Skype). He handcuffed Nokia to Microsoft's operating system, got rid of all of Nokia's software talent and cancelled every 'plan B' project. He backed Nokia into a corner where Nokia was no longer in a position to refuse Microsoft's offer. He played his role perfectly and is the perfect candidate to become CEO of Microsoft.


     


    I hate it when the conspiracy theorists are right.

  • Reply 18 of 39

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Ballmer


     


    Aww… I'd hoped AI would have posted the GOOD version of this picture.

  • Reply 19 of 39
    And now Microsoft can finish burning the platform.
  • Reply 20 of 39

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RichL View Post




    There's two ways of looking at Elop's reign at Nokia:


     


    1) He came to Nokia as a fresh, independent CEO. He chose Windows Phone because he believed that it was the platform to make Nokia a success again. Despite his efforts, the share price took a nose-dive, Windows Phone sales never came close to those of Symbian (despite the expanded market for smartphones) and the company lurched between modest profit and loss. He was an utter failure as a CEO.


     


    2) He was a Microsoft agent from the start. He drove Nokia's share price down to a level that Microsoft could afford (less than Google paid for Motorola, less than Microsoft even paid for Skype). He handcuffed Nokia to Microsoft's operating system, got rid of all of Nokia's software talent and cancelled every 'plan B' project. He backed Nokia into a corner where Nokia was no longer in a position to refuse Microsoft's offer. He played his role perfectly and is the perfect candidate to become CEO of Microsoft.


     


    I hate it when the conspiracy theorists are right.



     


    I'm not big on conspiracy theories but the first one may have morphed into the second.  By design?  I don't give MS that much credit. Serendipity? Dumb luck?  Sure.

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