Stephen Elop Would Kill Bing, Sell Xbox if CEO of Microsoft

Recently sources claimed that Microsoft's board has a three-person list of internal candidates to replace Steve Ballmer as the company Chief Executive Officer, consisting of Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, business development and evangelism chief Tony Bates, and cloud and enterprise business chief Satya Nadella. Before narrowing the internal list, the board also spoke to Bing and Office chief Qi Lu and operating systems boss Terry Myerson.

As for outside candidates, the board is currently interviewing Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally and former Nokia Oyj CEO Stephen, who resigned as Nokia's CEO when the $7.2 billion sale of its devices and services business was announced months ago. Elop will supposedly become head of a new Microsoft devices unit that controls the Surface tablets and Xbox gaming consoles.

However sources claim that Elop believes Microsoft could create more value by maximizing the sales of Office rather than use the software to sell Windows-based devices. Even more, to sharpen the company's focus, as CEO he would actually sell off or shut down major businesses such as Bing, which has been a costly effort to take on Google's own search engine. The Xbox business could also be sold off if deemed not critical to the company's strategy.

Investors drove Microsoft shares to their highest price since mid-2000 earlier this week, thanks to a comment made by Nomura Holdings Inc. analyst Rick Sherlund. He said that fiscal 2015 earnings could be lifted by 40 percent if the company sold off its Bing and Xbox units. “Microsoft is trying to do too much, and these assets add no clear value to the overall business,” wrote Sherlund. He also predicts that Ford's Mulally will likely fill Ballmer's shoes.

Sources point out that while at Nokia, Elop cut 40,000 jobs and reduced operating expenses by 50 percent. There's a good chance Elop will impose job cuts and "belt-tightening" as well to create even smaller teams at Microsoft. He will also likely focus on what a customer can do with a device rather than the underlying operating system. As an example, he dumped Symbian because it wasn't gaining any ground on iOS and Android, and went with Windows Phone, believing Microsoft's OS would be a fast track to success.

Another clue to Elop's thinking, according to sources, stems from the way he handled Nokia's mapping and location-tracking software. Instead of making the service proprietary to Nokia phones, he turned it into a standalone software business called "Here". Amazon is the latest customer to use Nokia's mapping service in several of its products.

Bloomberg points out that in his earlier days at Microsoft as a senior executive, Elop cut a deal to offer Office on Nokia's Symbian phone software. Then in 2010, the company added free, scaled-down versions of Word, PowerPoint and so on that anyone could access via the Internet. Elop also reportedly oversaw the development of Office 365, a hosted version of the popular suite that requires an annual subscription instead of a software purchase.

  • stevejnb
    Seems like a precursor to making MS a smaller company. Since part of the appeal of them for me is how they handle the whole larger ecosystem, I can't say I like this.

    Not sure MS is at a point yet where MS has to cut their losses and downsize.
  • Krisk7
    Microsoft does not really want XBOX ... well this is quite in line with their behavior as of late.
  • ssddx
    it is retards like this that cause successfull businesses to fail.
  • JD88
    Elop is a Microsoft stooge with absolutely no insight into where the technology market is heading.

    He doomed Nokia by refusing to go Android, then sold it to Microsoft for pennies on the dollar.

    Now he thinks selling Office is going to be Microsoft's saving grace? The market is transitioning to free, cloud based alternatives. Thinking you can build a company around selling Office is a joke. Microsoft is going to have to sell devices and the only way that's happening is to include Office free. Without that, the reasons to buy any Windows product in the consumer market starts to dry up. Services are fine, but the vast majority of MS money comes from OS licenses and in order to sell those you need to sell devices.
  • nieur
    Time to bring back Bill Gates
  • Murissokah
    Please listen to this man. Bing has only brought misery to the user base, and I'd certainly prefer if they kept the Xbox ecosystem entirely separate from the rest of their products.
  • godfather666
    I can't help but feel this man is nothing but a self-perpetuating egotistical a*hole. I sure hope he doesn't become CEO of MS, or any other company.
  • bee144
    Elop is not the answer. While the great CEOs have made major changes that have pushed their companies to the forefront of their field, these changes were to grow their company and not force major layoffs and cutbacks, making the company shrink in size. If the board chooses Elop then they've killed themselves.
  • NightLight
    i can agree with bing, but microsoft is just gaining momentum with win8/xbox eco system, they should not quit now or they'll end up like nokia.
  • velocityg4
    Bing being the best search engine for porn would be a major loss. With Google image search getting rid of the ability to disable safe search Bing is the only good one left.

    Why do company's facing any difficulty always grab new CEO's from the suits club? Career executives do not have the insight to make company's become huge successes. It takes someone with the entrepreneurial spirit to do so. Rockefeller, Jobs, Gates, Carnegie, Ford, &c are the guys that start with basically nothing and create empires.

    This is what Microsoft needs. Someone with vision, who is willing to take risks. The managerial types that embed themselves and move from company to company as high rank executives do not have this. All they know is to cut costs and improve efficiency to boost next quarters profits for the best bonus possible at all costs to the welfare of the company. Their motto is to hold the course, stay with what is safe, design by committee, use focus groups and market the hell out of crap products in hopes of fooling enough people.