Now that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has decided to retire within the year, the big question is, who on earth is qualified to run Microsoft and turn it around?
The answer is obvious: Bill Gates, says Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com’s CEO and a visionary in his own right.
“There is no clear candidate with the visionary skills to turn the company around other than Bill Gates,” Benioff told CNET. “He wouldn’t just be a magnet for a new vision, but for a talent pool of leadership.”
Benioff is really suggesting that Gates step up as an interim CEO, for no more than three years, leaving the reigns of his charitable foundation to his wife Melinda.
Benioff makes a good point. Gates probably is the best guy on the planet to do the job. You couldn’t find another man on the planet that knows more about technology, healthcare issues, poverty, or education. And he’s the kind of star power Microsoft needs.
But the official word from Microsoft it that Gates is saying, “no way.” If he was willing, he likely would have agreed to step in as interim CEO on the day that Ballmer announced his retirement.
The general consensus among betting people is that Bill Gates is only slightly more likely to take the job than Apple CEO Tim Cook. U.K. betting pool site Ladbrokes places the odds that Gates comes back at 50-1, beat only by the odds that Cook takes the job, at 100-1.