Some hopefuls for Microsoft’s CEO position

Who’s next up to serve as chief executive officer of Microsoft? Needless to say, no one really knows. But PCWorld writer Mark Hachman took a crack at figuring out which tech bigwigs are the most likely to become the next CEO of the tech giant. Here are a few of his thoughts.

Stephen Elop

Stephen Elop tops Hachman's list mainly due to the 49-year-old's insider knowledge of Microsoft and how the company works. Elop has spent much of his career at Microsoft, joining the company's business division in 2008 and then moving onto its Office group and Microsoft Dynamics. He has since left the company and relocated to Nokia, where, beginning in 2010 he started serving as that company's executive vice president of devices and services.

The pro

Then there's 68-year-old Alan Mulally, an engineer. Mulally spent 37 years at Boeing, where he became president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airlines. In 2006, he joined Ford as president and chief executive officer. He has attained regard for moving Ford through some of its toughest times, financing the company's turnaround without accepting a government bailout.

The rising star

Tony Bates is a bit of a rising star in the tech world. He experienced much of his success during a long career at Cisco. Prior to leaving the company, he oversaw thousands of employees as senior vice president of enterprise, commercial and small business. He has since advanced to serve as chief executive officer of Skype, where he has worked to expand the role that VoIP plays in the business world.

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