Microsoft is currently searching for a new CEO to replace Steve Ballmer, who plans to retire within the next 10 months. Recent reports suggest the company has shortlisted Ford CEO Alan Mulally and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop as external candidates. Elop according to Bloomberg, is willing to sell off major divisions, killing Bing and consider selling off the XBox divisions.
Elop is reportedly considering a strategy shift away from Microsoft's tradition of Office running primarily on Windows PCs. Bloomberg reports that Elop is formulating "some broad strategic outlines for Microsoft," in what is likely to be part of the interview process for the CEO position. Elop's potential strategy is said to involve maximizing sales of Office instead of using it to push Windows PC and tablet sales. Microsoft's Office and server software has been performing well in recent financial results, while Windows continues to struggle alongside a declining PC industry. Although Office has launched for iOS and Android, Microsoft could certainly do more to offer complete versions on those rival platforms.
loomberg also suggests that Elop is willing to shut down or sell some major Microsoft businesses. Elop would reportedly considering killing off the company's Bing search engine, while contemplating selling the Xbox business. Some investors and analysts have previously called for the software giant to split off its Xbox business and give up on search. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen appears to feel the same way. Allen's $15-billion asset manager, Paul Ghaffari, revealed recently that Bing and Xbox have been distractions for Microsoft. "My view is there are some parts of that operation they should probably spin out, get rid of, to focus on the enterprise and focus on the cloud." Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund claims Microsoft's financial earnings could be boosted by 40 percent in fiscal 2015 if the company sold its Bing and Xbox businesses