Hey, Bill Gates! We've found 14 IT HOTSHOTS to be the next Steve Ballmer

Stop fretting, check out these peeps. Now you can go back to swimming in cash


Siphoning VMware brains

Investor ... Diane Greene

VMware's former CEO Diane Greene would bring solid enterprise experience to Microsoft, too. She led the giant through its all-important period of expansion to become the market's number-one in virtualisation, something Microsoft is only now trying to chip away.

In 2008, she was ousted by the board of VMware-owner EMC, which feared an advancing Microsoft armed with its Hyper-V virtualisation stack. Now she could bring knowledge of VMware into the Microsoft camp as it tries to scale up against virty rivals. She may also welcome the chance to take a pop at VMware and EMC. Greene is, right now, occupied as an investor and also a member of Google's board - another plus, but an advantage that wouldn't last long as she would likely be forced to cut any ties with the advertising giant.

The internet CEO

Ever since Bill Gates published The Road Ahead in 1995 that almost completely failed to foresee the soaraway rise of the internet, Microsoft's had a blind spot about the web.

Microsoft's world view could be summarised thus: the answer is a PC, now what's the problem? That built a culture of PC first, and a reluctance to cannibalise teams to target new forms of hardware and harness the nebulous world of the internet.

Since Ballmer announced he will retire by this time next year, some have said they believe the best way to run Microsoft is to turn it into an "internet company", perhaps by appointing somebody already running a high-profile online operation.

One name dropped into the mix is Reed Hastings, CEO and co-founder of video streaming site Netflix and - until last November - a Microsoft board member. AS an entrepreneur, Hastings will not be drawn to Microsoft's stuffy corporate culture.

And don't think he's Mr Biz Hotshot, either: Netflix lost subscribers and saw its share price plummet in 2011 when it tried to separate its streaming and DVD services, lowering the prices for renting discs and charging for internet video. The move left some customers out of pocket and ignited a backlash. Hastings was forced to issue a personal apology.

Yahoo! ... Marissa! Mayer!

Gates could tempt across Yahoo!'s Marissa Mayer. A Googler for 13 years, Mayer led product management and engineering on local, mobile and contextual search for Google Maps, Local Search, Google Earth, Street View and Latitude - the sort of stuff Microsoft is trying to conquer with Bing.

Mayer, Google's first woman engineer, has the coding chops in addition to knowledge of the web. The problem is, she's been with Yahoo! for a year and is trying to turn the internet giant into a company that provides useful things that people would pay for. Also, Yahoo! is Microsoft's search partner on Bing, so luring the CEO would be a bad move for fraternal relations.

Amazon is fertile and promising ground. The company's gone from a simple seller of books to a bedrock of businesses by hosting their compute and storage systems in the cloud. Yet, Amazon remains true to its consumer origins, with a successful e-reader serving its book inventory. Plenty of peeps have gone to Amazon from Microsoft, so channels of communication exist. But who to hire? There's the rub.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos runs a flat and faceless empire, occupying the CEO, chief operating officer and president slots. We must look further down the chain, where we come to Brian Valentine - the vice-president of Amazon's e-commerce platform.

Valentine also passes the sniff test by being an ex-Microsoftie - he held various senior vice-president roles in the Windows division between 1999 and 2006, with a strong focus on engineering. He worked on Windows Vista and left after Microsoft decided to "reassign" him to "another part" of Redmond after Vista shipped. Have old wounds healed and, more importantly, would he see Microsoft as a step back?

Andrew Jassy has potential: as the senior vice-president of Amazon Web Services, Jassy wrote the original proposal for AWS back in 2003. There's also the senior vice-president of business development Jeff Blackburn, who has led much of Amazon's online investments, such as the purchase of film database IMDB and online clothing site Zappos, to diversify the e-tailer's operations.

Next page: The techie CEO

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Uncle Sam to clip wings of Pegasus-like spyware – sorry, 'intrusion software' – with proposed export controls

    Surveillance tech faces trade limits as America syncs policy with treaty obligations

    More than six years after proposing export restrictions on "intrusion software," the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has formulated a rule that it believes balances the latitude required to investigate cyber threats with the need to limit dangerous code.

    The BIS on Wednesday announced an interim final rule that defines when an export license will be required to distribute what is basically commercial spyware, in order to align US policy with the 1996 Wassenaar Arrangement, an international arms control regime.

    The rule [PDF] – which spans 65 pages – aims to prevent the distribution of surveillance tools, like NSO Group's Pegasus, to countries subject to arms controls, like China and Russia, while allowing legitimate security research and transactions to continue. Made available for public comment over the next 45 days, the rule is scheduled to be finalized in 90 days.

    Continue reading
  • Global IT spending to hit $4.5 trillion in 2022, says Gartner

    The future's bright, and expensive

    Corporate technology soothsayer Gartner is forecasting worldwide IT spending will hit $4.5tr in 2022, up 5.5 per cent from 2021.

    The strongest growth is set to come from enterprise software, which the analyst firm expects to increase by 11.5 per cent in 2022 to reach a global spending level of £670bn. Growth has fallen slightly, though. In 2021 it was 13.6 per cent for this market segment. The increase was driven by infrastructure software spending, which outpaced application software spending.

    The largest chunk of IT spending is set to remain communication services, which will reach £1.48tr next year, after modest growth of 2.1 per cent. The next largest category is IT services, which is set to grow by 8.9 per cent to reach $1.29tr over the next year, according to the analysts.

    Continue reading
  • Memory maker Micron moots $150bn mega manufacturing moneybag

    AI and 5G to fuel demand for new plants and R&D

    Chip giant Micron has announced a $150bn global investment plan designed to support manufacturing and research over the next decade.

    The memory maker said it would include expansion of its fabrication facilities to help meet demand.

    As well as chip shortages due to COVID-19 disruption, the $21bn-revenue company said it wanted to take advantage of the fact memory and storage accounts for around 30 per cent of the global semiconductor industry today.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021