If HP's board fires Léo Apotheker as rumored, one of the following candidates may turn out to be the new CEO
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is another survivor from the early PC days. With Steven Sinofsky seemingly righting the Windows ship and a concerted effort at the recent Build conference to pump up Sinofsky as Redmond's version of Steve Jobs, Ballmer may well be setting the stage for his own departure.
Pros: He's one of the most recognizable faces in tech and has vast experience running a big company that plays in both enterprise and consumer markets. He knows everybody and could give HP a real marquee name. Ballmer would probably focus on something new and clearly seems impervious to criticism. And he runs Microsoft as a series of quasi-independent companies, so bad decisions or executions tend to be isolated to specific business units.
Cons: He's a sales guy who has shown little understanding of technology, as evidenced by the unfulfilled promises made around Windows Vista and Microsoft's multiple mobile efforts. He runs Microsoft as a series of quasi-independent companies, so there's little synergy among them -- an issue in an increasingly connected world. He may not be available until Windows 8 launches late next year, when observers predict he will hand the reins to Sinofsky.