TWO GUYS MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED BALLMER -- Ballmer decided to retire on Wednesday -- His departure comes at the right time for the company -- BHis legacy: bad decisions -- He may have jumped before board could push

TWO GUYS MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED BALLMER -- Ballmer decided to retire on Wednesday -- His departure comes at the right time for the company -- BHis legacy: bad decisions -- He may have jumped before board could push

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>> WHO'S NEXT: Microsoft's next CEO likely to be young insider: Ballmer's retirement announcement includes a [FOO] for his successor: "a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction." Two under-50 execs already at Microsoft are likely on the short list for CEO candidates: Tony Bates, whose outstanding accomplishments as Skype's CEO include getting Microsoft to pay $8.5 billion for the company, and Microsoft's EVP of cloud and enterprise, Satya Nadella. InfoWorld

>> QUICK DECISION: Ballmer's retirement decided two days ago: The outgoing CEO tells ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley that he had been thinking about retirement for the past two months or so, but officially, "We had a board call. When was that, two days ago? And it was really two days ago ... I would say that we really -- I finalized and we finalized that this was the right path forward." ZDNet

>>>> Ballmer says the timing of his announcement has nothing to do with projected results for Microsoft's Q1 2014 ZDNet

>> GREAT TIMING: Ballmer's departure presages a market shift for Microsoft The company's transition from a pure software business to one focused on devices and services is likely to take at least a decade, and switching CEOs mid-stream could be ruinous. "It’s clear that any new leadership will need to be focused on that long-term change, and will need to understand the way that a services model fundamentally changes Microsoft’s core enterprise market." CITEworld

>> POOR LEADERSHIP: The outgoing CEO steered the company wrong on every major shift in technology "Ballmer proved to be the anti-Steve Jobs. He missed every major trend in technology. His innovations alienated people. When he tried something new, like Windows Vista, the public lined up around the block to trade it in. Microsoft missed social networking. It completely misjudged the iPhone and the iPad. It embraced complexity in product design just as everyone was turning toward simplicity. It entered growing markets too late. When was the last time you used Bing? In 2000, Microsoft made most of its money selling Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows. Today, it still makes its money that way. Ballmer’s reign has done more to defang Microsoft than the Justice Department could ever have hoped to do."

>> LEAVE STRONG: Ballmer's exit may be his face-saving move "Microsoft has floundered under Ballmer's leadership, there have been increasing calls for him to go, and he likely finally recognized that eventually he'd be pushed out unless he jumped first." Computerworld

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