A report on AllThingsD this weekend made a case for Tony Bates to take outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's title. Bates is currently the EVP of business development, strategy and evangelism at Microsoft and formerly oversaw the Skype division (Microsoft took over Skype in 2011.) It would appear at least a dozen Silicon Valley "tech leaders" interviewed for the report feel Bates is the best choice for MS CEO.
Bates is "the best candidate across all of the various criteria," said one unnamed source "close to the company." "Tony is a bold choice that would say a lot to the rest of the tech world that Microsoft is ready to engage," said another source. High-level Microsoft executives are also thumbing-up Bates, according to the report.
Inside Microsoft, the two front-runners for new CEO are Alan Mulally and Satya Nadella. Mulally is the president and CEO at Ford. His leading qualification for the job is running a large global company (and his charisma, it would appear.) Nadella is EVP of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, "responsible for building and running the company's computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services," as his company bio explains it. Nadella has shown himself worthy of that role, plus he's a MS insider.
As for Bates, the reason Silicon Valley appears to be rooting for him is that he's a classic case of Silicon Valley entrepreneurialism. He is similar to MS founder Bill Gates in that he dropped out of college and taught himself to code, thereafter distinguishing himself in the tech industry. He managed 12,000 global workers at Cisco and helped that company rake in $20 billion.