In other CEO speculation this week
The suggestion that Sinofsky could succeed Ballmer has intensified amongst Microsoft watchers and employees since BUILD. Privately, a number of Microsoft employees I spoke to off-record at BUILD last week admitted that Sinofsky is a likely choice if Windows 8 succeeds. Some mirrored Mini-Microsoft’s concerns at a Sinofsky-led Microsoft but others spoke with admiration and respect for what he has achieved for Windows and Office. Microsoft lacks a visionary leader and Sinofsky appears to fill that role very well. Co-founder Bill Gates handed over the CEO position to Steve Ballmer in January 2000 and transitioned from full-time work at Microsoft to focus on his philanthropy in June, 2008. Gates’ departure came after his vision and belief that tablet computing would be mainstream by 2012 (see video). Gates was right but Ballmer has often misjudged competitor products, he laughed at the introduction of the iPhone and branded it “the most expensive phone in the world” (see video). The iPhone went on to redefine smartphones and triggered a battle for a space that Microsoft had invested heavily in with the now defunct Windows Mobile operating system.