Rumours have emerged this week that Bill Gates may be planning a return to Microsoft as the new CEO in order to take a more "hands-on role” at the company. Whilst it’s hardly the first rumour to come out of Redmond recently, it’s thought at the least that Gates will help the new CEO to "ease into” the role.
Currently, the most likely to take over is thought to be Microsoft's VP of cloud and enterprise Satya Nadella, according to a Wall Street Journal report from late last week. However, it’s been further reported that Nadella has requested that Gates step in to "spend more time on technology and strategy", assuming that Nadella takes on the role.
Yesterday, this was further discussed by Bloomberg, who report that Gates will spend more time on the Redmond campus in order to spend more time on developing products. In order to enable this, it’s thought that the Microsoft founder will step down as chairman of the board but remain a director.
Ericsson boss Hans Vestberg has also been linked with the role as Microsoft attempt to find ways to boost revenue as PC sales continue to fall. However, the Ericsson CEO said that he has no interest in the role in an interview with Reuters, stating: ""I am committed to Ericsson.I plan to continue as CEO at Ericsson as long as I have the support I need, that is to say from the board etcetera. I guess that answers the question of where I'm going, and that is staying with Ericsson."
One of the biggest problems that Microsoft has is taking the firm into the world of smartphones and tablets and out of that of being mostly based in software.
It’s thought that we can expect an announcement on the new CEO one way or another within a week "or so”.
Rumours abound though as it’s also been mentioned that Gates could be ousted from his position as chairman of the board, being replaced by John Thompson, with Nadella acting as CEO. Whilst it could be that Gates is set to return to product development as a conquering hero in a similar way to the late Steve Jobs, nothing at this time appears to be certain other than the involvement of Nadella.
Whatever the case, whilst Microsoft may be struggling in the PC market, its Office suites continue to do well and as the world’s richest man, it’s highly unlikely that Gates will be in it for the money. What is more likely is that he returns as more of a ‘visionary’ figure, just like Jobs did with Apple.