Could we finally see white smoke billowing out of Redmond over the next few days to signal that Microsoft has at long last found its new CEO? Re/code reports that Microsoft’s CEO search, which has now dragged on well into its fifth month, may end with a formal announcement next week. Re/code is hearing that Microsoft will likely go with an insider candidate rather than bringing in an outside leader. Right now the top choice looks like Microsoft cloud and enterprise boss Satya Nadella, with fellow insiders Tony Bates and Stephen Elop trailing behind.
One thing that could make Nadella a good fit is that he’s signaled that he’s already on board with outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer’s plan to remake Microsoft from a software company to a devices and services company and he’s emphasized the importance of cloud computing as a key part of that transition. And in contrast to Elop, no one from inside Microsoft has leaked potentially damaging information on him such as reported plans to kill off the Xbox and Bing if he becomes CEO, which means that Nadella could potentially be a more unifying choice within the company.