Microsoft CEO race: Ericsson head tipped for the top spot

Hans Vestberg joins list of CEO candidates.

Rumoured deal

Chief executive of Ericsson, Hans Vestberg, is being considered for the top job at Microsoft, according to Bloomberg.

This is the first time Vestberg's name has been linked to the Microsoft top spot, which is due to be vacated by current CEO Steve Ballmer by August 2014.

In early January, the list of potential successors had apparently been whittled down to just three internal candidates Stephen Elop, the former CEO of Nokia, Satya Nadella, vice president of cloud and enterprise, and Tony Bates, executive vice president of business.

Other rumoured candidates, including Ford's CEO Alan Mulally and Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz, have openly declined the job, with Mulally saying he  had "no plans to do anything other than serve Ford" and Maritz, who left Microsoft in 2000, described himself as too old. Meanwhile, Qualcomm's Steve Mollenkopf effectively ruled himself out by becoming the chip manufacturer's CEO in December.

Microsoft was a latecomer to the now booming smartphone market and has since struggled to make headway, something Steve Ballmer has described as one of his greatest regrets. A desire to overcome this hurdle is reportedly why Elop and Vestberg are being considered for the top spot.

A spokesperson for Ericsson told IT Pro: "We never comment on rumours and speculation."

IT Pro contacted Microsoft for comment, but nobody was immediately available. The company has previously refused to comment on speculation about the new CEO, claiming it would be unfair to candidates to discuss proceedings publicly before a new chief is announced.

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