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Microsoft has a stable of senior executives who could be contenders to succeed CEO Steve Ballmer — he announced on Friday that he would retire within a year — even though outsiders have sparked the most discussion so far. Here's a list of potential candidates (all except Raikes and Thompson are executive vice presidents)
PRO: A 21-year Microsoft veteran, he knows the inner workings of the company. Recently promoted to run the newly created ‘cloud and enterprise’ unit, he controls the infrastructure behind the ‘services’ side of Microsoft's new vision
CON: Although he was once a vice president in the Office unit, he might struggle to impose authority over the all-powerful Windows and Office factions, which are famously antagonistic to one another
PRO: Came to Microsoft two years ago as CEO of the acquired company Skype. He so impressed his new boss that Ballmer put him in charge of corporate strategy and relations with developers and PC makers
CON: May not have been at Microsoft long enough to know how to wrench it into a new shape, and his narrow specialty in the telecommunications and router field may not be broad enough to run such a large software-based company
PRO: A young entrepreneur whose web software company was bought by Microsoft in the late 1990s, he might bring a start-up mentality to the top job.
Recently selected by Ballmer to run the full range of operating systems
CON: His last assignment was running the Windows phone unit, which won praise for its clean, stylish software but has not come close to making Microsoft a big player in the smartphone market
PRO: The former Yahoo executive is a heavyweight in the online search and advertising area, with 20 US patents. He now runs the ‘applications and services’ group. It is a crucial part of Ballmer's reorganisation plan.
CON: Under his stewardship, the Bing search engine has cost Microsoft billions of dollars without threatening dominance
PRO: A 20-year veteran of Microsoft and acolyte of recently departed Windows chief Steven Sinofsky, she has intimate knowledge of both the Office and Windows units, having led the redesign of