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Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Elop Favored By Gamblers As Microsoft's Next Chief Executive 196

Posted by samzenpus
from the smart-money dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "A gambling website's favorite as Microsoft Corp.'s next chief executive officer is Stephen Elop, the Nokia CEO who has presided over a 62 percent decline in market value. Elop, a former Microsoft executive, has 5-to-1 odds to be hired as Steve Ballmer's replacement, according to Ladbrokes, the U.K.-based gambling operator. He leads a pool including internal candidates Kevin Turner and Julie Larson-Green and outsiders like Apple CEO Tim Cook — a 100-to-1 dark horse."
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Elop Favored By Gamblers As Microsoft's Next Chief Executive

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  • Name game (Score:4, Funny)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:11AM (#44705203)

    Sounds like a publicity stunt to me. It's close enough to Elon Musk that they can cash in on some of the buzz around 'hyperloop' and "isn't he the Tesla guy?" and "doesn't he build rockets?" to make them sound new and edgy and relevant.

    • by synapse7 (1075571) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:24AM (#44705275)
      Elop sounds too close to "Flop", if we're only considering by name.
      • by bobstreo (1320787)

        Elop sounds too close to "Flop", if we're only considering by name.

        More interesting, backwards it's Pole

        • Elop sounds too close to "Flop", if we're only considering by name.

          More interesting, backwards it's Pole

          Did he used to do film work in the San Fernando Valley? I think I recall the name, "Backward Pole" in some credits... but it might have been "BackDoor Pole" instead,,,

      • Every time I hear the name "Elop", it makes me think of QWOP [foddy.net].

    • by Capt James McCarthy (860294) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:26AM (#44705285) Journal

      Elon Musk

      Every time I see his name, I think what a cool name for mens cologne.

    • I misread the other candidate, Julie Larson-Green, as Julie Green Lantern. I think that would be an even better publicity generating name.

      • by Teresita (982888)
        I misread the other candidate, Julie Larson-Green, as Julie Green Lantern. I think that would be an even better publicity generating name.

        Microsoft would win a ribbon for that pick.
    • Re:Name game (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:40AM (#44705373) Homepage Journal

      How are CEOs judged. Honestly.. I don't know. It seems to an outsider like me that names come up again and again even after they slam corporations to the ground.

      Carly Fiorina came up as a candidate. Why? Everything she touches turns to shit and H.P. barely survived her.

      There is a cult of personality around these people that need to be broken up.

      • Re:Name game (Score:5, Informative)

        by bondsbw (888959) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @09:36AM (#44705809)

        Shareholders judge CEOs according to how stock prices have moved and how dividends have been released. These are usually the guys you have to please, over the term of a couple of years, to keep your job.

        An objective observer would more likely judge a CEO by the stability and growth of the company over the course of half a decade or more. It's not always about the money. Some great private company owners don't care much about bringing in a corporate profit, but rather they just like what they're doing and want to pay their employees and the bills. (But of course, once you hold a majority share in a company that is worth billions of dollars, it becomes VERY hard to resist an IPO.)

        There's also a big difference between a startup that is still on its way up vs. an established company. A company with its roots firmly planted, in my opinion, should value a CEO with the ability to continue pushing the company forward when market conditions provide overbearing competition and when economic times do not play well to the good or service being provided. Sometimes this means reducing cash in the bank and moving fiercely into related markets that are on the upswing.

        • Re:Name game (Score:5, Interesting)

          by rtb61 (674572) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @10:03AM (#44706037) Homepage

          A company that is stagnating basically needs to start a square 1 and re inject that creativity. It was always said that Paul Allen would have taken M$ in other directions to Bill Gates and Paul Allen was the real creative person behind M$, just got squeezed out by the hostility of Ballmer and Gates combined. So get Paul back in to set new directions for the two parts of the company M$ Office/Windows and MSN/gaming. They can leave Ballmer at M$ Office/Windows to squeeze the life out of it.

          • by HiThere (15173)

            No. Making a stable profit is a niche that should be encouraged. Nothing has the ability to grow forever.

            If the company is stagnating, it becomes quite important to identify the reason. If it's because of market saturation, then KEEP DOING IT RIGHT. Return profits to the share-holders, if you're a corporation. But be sure to keep your eyes open for a better way of doing whatever it is that is your specialty. But be very careful that in doing so you don't stop DOING IT RIGHT.

            Change for the sake of chan

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Shareholders judge CEOs according to how stock prices have moved and how dividends have been released.

          That's a rather circular definition because stock prices move according to what other shareholders think about the stock, not what the CEO is doing as such. Reality is that the market is a moving target and shareholders are often rather clueless as to whether the CEO's performance has actually contributed to or detracted from the company's stock performance, like if you were producing SUVs you simply were in the wrong place at the wrong time and any CEO's sales would tank - but more or less because of the C

          • by sjbe (173966)

            That's a rather circular definition because stock prices move according to what other shareholders think about the stock, not what the CEO is doing as such.

            That is correct but nevertheless CEOs usually are judged by the returns to shareholders. Share price is at best an indirect measure of performance and in the short run can be completely uncorrelated with actual performance. But since the shareholders are the owners of the company, share price + dividends are ultimately what they (usually) care about and those are the measure shareholders are going to evaluate management performance against. It is a HIGHLY imperfect measure and frequently unfairly rewards

      • Re:Name game (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nitehawk214 (222219) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @09:40AM (#44705839)

        That is the beauty of getting into the CEO club. The boards of directors of all the other big companies are made up of C level executives, so once someone is in the club they can all vote for each other and guarantee themselves a giant paycheck. Even if they completely run a company into the dirt, they are guaranteed that their buddies in the C-Club will take care of them at their next position; because they will do the same on the boards they serve on.

      • Laziness and cowardice. People don't want to have to try to assess how good a person is at making informed decisions, so instead they look at whether they've already done a similar job. Doesn't seem to matter whether they were awesome or sucked donkey balls at it. On top of that, they only get dinged for picking a bad CEO, they personally don't get much for picking a stellar CEO, or at least they're not looking that far in advance.

        It's not limited to the top position either, it's everywhere. This is
      • by microTodd (240390)

        Heh, mentioning Carly gave me a depressing yet fascinating train of thought.

        The cynic in me says....put her in. Watch MS stock decline. Buy. Force her out. Stock jumps 20%. Sell. You just made eleventy billion dollars

        If you're a wall street power exec with influence of the MS board....its brilliant

        • by rsborg (111459)

          Heh, mentioning Carly gave me a depressing yet fascinating train of thought.

          The cynic in me says....put her in. Watch MS stock decline. Buy. Force her out. Stock jumps 20%. Sell. You just made eleventy billion dollars

          If you're a wall street power exec with influence of the MS board....its brilliant

          No, you have to add another "sell" step if you're an insider (or have access to one), right before you install the Carly.F virus, you sell (or do a buy-write cover). This gives you the proceeds to do the next steps without a major loss.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:12AM (#44705213) Homepage

    An expert in tanking companies at the helm of Microsoft? I can't wait.

  • If they tried to hire him but he couldn't get a H1B1 visa?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      H-1B1 only applies to Chilean and Singaporean nationals. Since he's Canadian, they can just list him as "computer analyst" and he can work in the US under TN status for a period of 1 year, renewable indefinitely.

  • I put my money on that one just to screw with people's heads.
    • I think that would be the equivalent of taking a 18 wheeler going at 80mph and slamming it into reverse.

      Face it, Steve's vision of what technology should be isn't even compatible with ANYONE at Apple anymore.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:35AM (#44705335) Homepage

    I can picture it now...

    Elop gets in. He sits down, and writes a memo about how the company is sitting on a burning platform and needs to change or die. He'll then adopt a bold strategy of switching the entire company over to... what? QNX maybe?

    Considering his track record, I find it hard to believe anybody thinks this is a good idea.

    • Nah, he's going to get booted and he successor will ditch Windows Phone.

      Then he'll end up back at the mothership in Redmond as some other type of executive. Given how badly he's hurt Nokia, I wonder if the Microsoft board would really let him be CEO. They can afford someone good, why the hell would they choose Elop?

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Nah, he's going to get booted and he successor will ditch Windows Phone.

        Then he'll end up back at the mothership in Redmond as some other type of executive. Given how badly he's hurt Nokia, I wonder if the Microsoft board would really let him be CEO. They can afford someone good, why the hell would they choose Elop?

        Dunno. Why the hell have they done most of the things they've done in the past few years?

  • by charnov (183495) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:38AM (#44705365) Homepage Journal

    Kevin Turner, Lisa Brummel, and Amy Hood are all despised within Microsoft... they are Ballmer yes-people and Lisa Brummel is directly responsible for destroying any shred of productive culture there. They all need to go.

    The employees want Satya Nadella or maybe Tony Bates... although many say it has to come from the outside... Sinofsky ;-)

    http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2013/08/steve-ballmer-is-going-to-frickin.html [blogspot.com]

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:48AM (#44705423)

      What the employees want does not matter even a little.

      The current management put Ballmer in charge, they are going to select another Ballmer not someone who will change their culture.

      • by Lifyre (960576)

        Don't count on it. I think they're seeing a massive cultural problem that is finally starting to hurt the bottom line and they want to do something about it. I don't know if they go the direction the employees want but I think they'll go a non Ballmer direction.

      • The current management put Ballmer in charge, they are going to select another Ballmer not someone who will change their culture.

        If that was the case, why would Ballmer be leaving? I don't think that he is doing what he is doing badly, the problem is that he is doing the wrong things. Replacing him with someone who does the same things, maybe slightly better or slightly worse, isn't going to help one bit.

  • Probably not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tbannist (230135) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:39AM (#44705369)
    Maybe Nokia was always supposed to be Elop's training company? You know, a company he can try stuff at and drive it into the ground before he gets his hands on the real thing? Maybe he was even supposed to run it into the ground the ground, kind of like Brewster's Millions but with a company?
    • Maybe Nokia was always supposed to be Elop's training company?

      No, coming back as Microsoft CEO was the deal he was given when he was sent to Nokia to destroy all its value.

      • No, coming back as Microsoft CEO was the deal he was given when he was sent to Nokia to destroy all its value.

        This seems likely; I was on record here saying to expect an acquisition, or at least an IP buy-out, after it had its value devastated - but I still haven't seen what Microsoft could do differently than Nokia is doing to actually succeed with a Windows phone.

      • Re:Probably not (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Urkki (668283) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @10:53AM (#44706549)

        No, coming back as Microsoft CEO was the deal he was given when he was sent to Nokia to destroy all its value.

        Considering how its value is up like 100% from the bottom, and likely to keep slowly creeping upwards along with WP market share in the short term at least, then if Elop's mission was to drive the value to the ground only, it failed.

        But don't worry, there's plenty of room for conspiracies still. Elop's mission could have been to install WP as a 3rd ecosystem as quickly as possible, no matter the cost (to Nokia's shareholders), and accepting a big risk of total failure (of Nokia as a company) and continuing irrelevancy of Windows in mobile space. The way Symbian was murdered certainly fits this theory.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @08:40AM (#44705379) Homepage

    Ballmer left the company in shambles in terms of their standing and momentum in the industry. Whoever takes over is going to have to be very aggressive and will probably run head long into antitrust issues if they are too serious about rebuilding Microsoft's standing and momentum. What Microsoft needs at this point:

    1. Release Windows 8.2 with the start menu fully restored, Metro apps able to run on the desktop mode and Metro only a primary UI option on touch screen PCs unless the user configures otherwise (either way should still be an option).
    2. Release Windows RT 2 tablet in $200 and $300 32gb and 64gb options with full Microsoft Office. Microsoft needs to just flood the market with low cost, Kindle-like Windows tablets that'll run any traditional Windows app recompiled for ARM (another restriction that needs to go from Windows 8).
    3. Attack the living room not just with the XBox One, but alternatives to protocols like AirPlay that are open, documented and patent-free for other vendors to implement. Microsoft can isolate Apple even more by returning to its roots of being of one of the most open big vendors in the industry.

    • by Tridus (79566)

      They should do #1 anyway. Stardock already figured out how to run Metro apps on the desktop, and having that option would dramatically help adoption in corporate settings.

      In fact they should do #2 as well. The RT simply doesn't have the hardware specs or market clout to compete at the same price as the iPad.

      • by Teresita (982888)
        They should do #1 anyway. Stardock already figured out how to run Metro apps on the desktop, and having that option would dramatically help adoption in corporate settings.

        What galls people is they have to add aftermarket software just to make the Win8 UI acceptable. It's like getting a brand new car, and having to take it to a garage so they can make the left pedal work as the brake and the right pedal work as the accelerator again.
    • "alternatives to protocols like AirPlay that are open, documented and patent-free for"...

      Sorry, I know this is forthright, but this makes me giggle. This is asking much more than the simple sentence here indicates. This is a difference in corporate culture. Culture is the most difficult thing to change in every organization.

      Not that I don't agree with you...

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        The problem with open protocols (from many corporations point of view) is that they open you up to competition. Conpanies like Microsoft and Apple don't want competition.

    • Too Many Problems (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tuppe666 (904118) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @09:29AM (#44705743)

      1. Release Windows 8.2 with the start menu fully restored, Metro apps able to run on the desktop mode and Metro only a primary UI option on touch screen PCs unless the user configures otherwise (either way should still be an option).
      2. Release Windows RT 2 tablet in $200 and $300 32gb and 64gb options with full Microsoft Office. Microsoft needs to just flood the market with low cost, Kindle-like Windows tablets that'll run any traditional Windows app recompiled for ARM (another restriction that needs to go from Windows 8).
      3. Attack the living room not just with the XBox One, but alternatives to protocols like AirPlay that are open, documented and patent-free for other vendors to implement. Microsoft can isolate Apple even more by returning to its roots of being of one of the most open big vendors in the industry.

      I love quick fixes. The problem with Microsoft is the the company. We are asking why an army of clever; highly qualified and paid individuals could release so many failures...obvious failures before release.

      Lets look at your fixes(Lipstick on a Pig) you address the unpopular Metro Interface failure, by having it there as a kludge; It was never about a start menu it was about creating an ecosystem with a consistent interface so they could force themselves into the mobile market(They use the word "ecosystem"), and cash in on the lockdown (store and hardware) to Microsoft product and services. The answer wasn't to use the advantages over mobile (10x power and screen real estate, good input, massive storage) they simply dumbed down a computer to a poor tablet. How about Microsoft accept its in competition and compete by producing the Best Desktop ever.

      Then you bring up cost. Microsoft walk around with 70% gross margins while its partners do with 10%-20%, and not only is office unwanted they also charge for that too. Traditional Windows Apps do not work on a tablet. No wonder the devices are considered overprices and its partners are turning away. How about Microsoft change their business stratergy?

      Bill Gates might have got into the living room with the console, but seriously its a $500, £430 in the UK and 500 Euros console (ignoring its anti-gamer launch) it is going against a $35 Device Chromecast. that already has an alternative to Airplay and works for iOS and Android. How about Microsoft stop selling hardware but sell software...hold on did Andriod just get another 6 Consoles.

      The bottom line is a few quick fixes...and these aren't are not going to fix the problem.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      I'd add a 0. to this list:

      0. Listen to your fucking customers.

      If they'd just keep this in mind, the rest of the list (and much more) falls in place naturally.
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      HuH?

      1 - refund everyone's money that bought Windows 8 and reinstate work on Windows 7 updates and bugfixes. Start working on windows 9 with business use in mind first and foremost.

      2 - when it's ready for testing, get COMPANIES with REAL USERS to test it and submit useability reports and feedback.

      3 - LISTEN TO AND ACT ON THAT FEEDBACK.

      4 - profit.

    • The issues with Ballmer were many fold. MS always had a strategy; their execution was sorely lacking. Ballmer often deferred big decisions to others. While Ballmer did grow the server side and parts of the business, his role at MS was always more of a COO or President (his previous job) than CEO. While he was passionate about the company, his dismeanor and statements made the company look bad. I'm sure Apple has his "The iPhone will never get any marketshare" comments plastered all over their HQ.
    • Microsoft's roots are being one of the most open big vendors in the industry? You just made my day with that joke. Go talk to someone that knows a thing or two about Kerberos and get them to tell you how open and awesome Active Directory is because it uses open protocols. I recall Microsoft withholding publication of their changes to Kerberos that preventing it from interoperating with MIT krb5. I also recall their withholding publication of the EAP-PEAP changes to RADIUS that they made in conjunction w
  • by bryanbrunton (262081) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @10:09AM (#44706101)

    Let's face it, Microsoft has recently seen a huge amount of innovation.

      - a completely new UI for Windows
      - gambling a couple billion dollars on Windows RT
      - locking down the XBox with draconian DRM

    These were HUGE gambles, Ballmer had HUGE stones. They were really betting the company on this dynamic new strategic path.

    It just so happens that this is innovation that really fscking sucked. They need a CEO who recognizes that Microsoft cannot innovate. It is not something that the company does well.

  • Elop is a moron. Why in the world would they put a moron in charge of Microsoft?

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Elop is a moron. Why in the world would they put a moron in charge of Microsoft?

      Why would that be any different than anything else they've done recently?

  • Cook from Apple becomes MS's new CEO.

    Iger from Disney takes over the Apple spot.

    And the musical chairs continue...

  • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday August 29, 2013 @12:42PM (#44707613)

    And I don't mean for "waah waah antitrust" reasons, I mean because I honestly think we'd see a hell of a lot more innovation in more productive directions. A parent company might hold majority shareholdings in the subsidiaries, but daily operations (including pretty much all strategic thinking) should come from the individual companies Microsoft would be split into, not from the big hulking brute that is Microsoft today.

    The idea being that

    Off the top of my head, you'd wind up with:

      - Home Entertainment. Gets the XBox. Without the "mustn't play nicely with others" mentality coming from the top, they could license DAAP and integrate with Apple, maybe use the xbox as some sort of media centre that can stream to devices around the house.
      - Operating systems. Gets Windows - both client and server. Because it's now effectively a separate company, they can build stronger relationships with others - the concern that there's a conflict of interest somewhere mostly evaporates.
      - Enterprise Software. Gets SQL Server, Exchange, Sharepoint, maybe IIS. Without the "must integrate everything 15 ways from Sunday and run only on Windows" push coming from HQ, there's scope to openly publish integration mechanisms.
      - Productivity Software: Gets Office, Visio etc. Opens the door for publishing an API that allows third party companies wanting to build a Sharepoint-alike and integrate just as seamlessly as Sharepoint does. (Or does Sharepoint just use WebDAV?)

    • Has any attempt at spinning the OS actually worked? Newton, Palm and Symbian come to mind as previous failed attempts at doing the same thing.
  • What are the odds for Clippy? He (it?) would make a great CEO!

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