Silicon Valley Wants Tony Bates in Microsoft's CEO Seat

Ever since Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced in August that he would retire within twelve months, Ford's Alan Mulally and Microsoft's Satya Nadella are said to be front-runners for the job. Now there are insiders telling AllThingsD that more than a dozen tech leaders in Silicon Valley, as well as several top execs in Microsoft, actually want Tony Bates for the job, the company's current executive vice president of Microsoft responsible for Business Development, Strategy and Evangelism.

"Tony is a bold choice that would say a lot to the rest of the tech world that Microsoft is ready to engage. Mulally makes sense only if the board wants a transitional figure, which means it basically doesn't know what to do yet," said one source close to the company. Another source said that Bates is "the best candidate across all of the various criteria."

Sources claim that his past experience at Cisco is seen as a big plus, as at the time he managed around 12,000 global workers and was responsible for more than $20 billion in revenue. He also was placed in charge of the development of a complex networking product even though he does not have a technical degree, and currently holds many patents related to the area.

"He taught himself to code by reading programming manuals on the way to work and began his career as a network operator at the University of London," reads his bio.

Other pluses include his involvement with Skype both before and after Microsoft bought the service. He also understands mobile and communications, and still remains at Microsoft despite the acquisition. This feat is reportedly no small thing for an executive who enters the Redmond building and is typically chewed up and spit out; he has staying power, so it seems.

Of course, there are negatives to Bates, among those being that he doesn't have a personal, long-time relationship with co-founder and chairman Bill Gates. He's also never taken the role of CEO of a big public company like Microsoft, he's too friendly to the digerati, and he hasn't put himself out there on any major initiatives at Microsoft since he arrived in 2011 after the Skype acquisition.

Currently, Bates is responsible for "the company's relationships with key OEMs, strategic innovation partners, independent software vendors and developers. He also leads Microsoft's corporate strategy team." He's a strategist, according to that bio.

Right now, Alan Mulally remains in the top position for the CEO job. Along with Satya Nadella, Microsoft's special committee, which includes Bill Gates himself, is reportedly talking with a total of five candidates. The company has its work cut out in choosing Ballmer's successor, which was supposedly to occur before the end of the year. However, Bloomberg reports that the selection may push on into the new year.

Should Tony Bates take the place of Steve Ballmer?

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  • godfather666
    Yes, Bates is much better than Elop. Bates makes sense.
  • coolitic
    Eh, without Bill Gates Microsoft is gonna fail.
  • bustapr
    I guess Bates is OK, but I still think Mullaly is the best person for the job. They say he only makes sense if microsoft doesnt know where they are going, but isnt that exactly the point they are in? They dont have solid goals for the desktop OS because of all the backlash they got from users. people obviously didnt take Win8 with a smiling face, and they have to look for an alternative that will make people trust in MS again like Win7 did.

    As for mobile, they have sort of a good concept of what to do, but they arent expanding in the area. They arent getting enough OEMs to sell WinRT and they arent selling much. Mullally is a great choice to set them in the right direction where everyone can win.