Steve Ballmer Consolidated His Power, And There's No Clear Cut Number Two At Microsoft

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft

In the wake of Microsoft’s big reorg, a lot of people are wondering who’s the clear cut favourite to succeed Steve Ballmer when (if?) he steps down as CEO.

The boring truth of the matter is that no one emerged from this reorg as the likely favourite to take over as Microsoft’s CEO.

The reorg actually made responsibility across the company more diffuse, which in turn gives Ballmer even more control.

Kara Swisher at All Things D, who had the inside edge on the reorg ahead of everyone, says, “The new reorg does not point to any one person as an heir apparent to Ballmer.”

On Twitter, she said, “it’s stupid to guess” about who will end up running Microsoft.

The five biggest winners in the reorg are not new to power at Microsoft. They’ve been with the company for a few years in top positions. They’re mostly getting new responsibilities.

Over time, one of them could emerge as the heir to the throne, but it’s going to be a long time before Ballmer is gone.

He’s told people in the past that he doesn’t plan to step down until 2017, or 2018. And, he could always change his mind about that.

In tech, five years is a long time.

For instance, five years ago, there was no iPad. The iPad is currently destroying the traditional PC business.

Who knows what’s going to be happening in five years, and which execs will emerge from Microsoft’s new org as important for whatever comes next.

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