Microsoft CEO Search: Ericsson Chief Joins The Race [REPORT]

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has added one very important name to its list of candidates who may potentially replace Steve Ballmer. The software giant’s search committee is considering Ericsson (ADR) (NASDAQ:ERIC) (STO:ERIC-A) (STO:ERIC-B) CEO Hans Vestberg as a potential successor to the outgoing CEO, according to Bloomberg. Steve Ballmer is stepping down in August 2014.

Microsoft still has good options

Initially, there were many potential candidates including Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) CEO Alan Mulally and and Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) chief operating officer Steve Mollenkopf. But Mulally has announced that he will stick with Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F). And Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) has named Mollenkopf as its next CEO. So, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s choices were confined to internal candidates including cloud computing head Satya Nadella, EVP Tony Bates, and long-time Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) veteran and former Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (HEL:NOK1V) chief Stephen Elop.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s board has yet to reach a decision, and the names of potential candidates may change. The head of the CEO search committee, John Thompson, said last month that the new CEO is likely to be named in the early months of 2014. The new chief will have a challenging job of turning around Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). The company was too late in the smartphone revolution, and hasn’t made any significant progress.

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Can Vestberg take the Microsoft challenge?

Hans Vestberg has been serving Ericsson (ADR) (NASDAQ:ERIC) (STO:ERIC-A) (STO:ERIC-B) since 1988. He became chief financial officer of the company in 2007, and chief executive in January 2010. Vestberg exited the Sony Ericsson joint venture, and focused on telecom networks and services. Since he became the CEO of Ericsson (ADR) (NASDAQ:ERIC) (STO:ERIC-A) (STO:ERIC-B), the stock has gained about 19% and its revenues have increased from $32 billion to $35 billion. Last year, Ericsson (ADR) (NASDAQ:ERIC) (STO:ERIC-A) (STO:ERIC-B) acquired Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Mediaroom unit. It develops software that telecom companies use to push TV services through broadband networks. Vestberg has worked in every part of Ericsson (ADR) (NASDAQ:ERIC) (STO:ERIC-A) (STO:ERIC-B) except for R&D.

Interested parties are curious how much time Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will take to name the successor to Steve Ballmer, who has led the company for more than a decade. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares dipped 0.11% to $36.72 in pre-market trading Thursday.