Larry Ellison. There's only one reason to pick Ellison to take over the helm, and that's to watch him dismantle every building on the Microsoft campus brick by brick, plow over the ultimate frisbee fields, and sow salt into the soil so that nothing grows there ever again.
Ashton Kutcher. True, he has no executive experience, save for playing Steve Jobs in the apparently awful "Jobs." Then again, Kutcher has no real acting experience either, yet studios continue to pay him millions to appear on screen.
The Geico Gecko. Think about it. Is there anyone on the planet who doesn't know that 15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on your car insurance? Now there's a guy -- er, reptile who knows how to stay on message.
Mike Myers/Dr. Evil. Don't tell me you didn't see that coming. Talk about twins separated at birth. I can think of milli -- no, billions of reasons why this is a perfect fit. Even Mr. Bigglesworth agrees.
Somewhat more seriously, I think Ballmer is a smart, talented, and charismatic guy. But he's driven out a lot of top talent Microsoft could sorely use at the moment. And the vision just isn't there. Anyone whose user experience philosophy can be summed up as RTFM (read the friggin manual) has no place in the consumer technology business.
I've long held that Microsoft should set its consumer and mobile divisions free and become an enterprise software and services company, period. Maybe someone new at the helm will see the wisdom of that strategy and make it happen.
In the meantime, grab some popcorn. Succession-palooza ought to be fun to watch.
Who should succeed Ballmer? Nominate your candidates below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "See you, Steve: 5 could-be, would-be Ballmers to consider," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.