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Ericsson CEO Apparently Up For Microsoft Chief Job

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Hans Vestberg supposedly being considered for top role

Microsoft is apparently moving closer to identifying its next CEO, with current Ericsson head Hans Vestberg lined up to replace the outgoing Steve Ballmer, who is retiring later this year, reports say.

A number of candidates have been tipped for the top role, with Nokia’s Stephen Elop and Ford CEO Alan Mullaly among the names bandied around in the past. But there now appears to be serious support behind 48-year old Vestberg, who has been at Ericsson for over 25 years, and has been CEO since January 2010.

steve ballmer microsoft youngGetting their man

In his time as CEO, Vestberg has overseen the dismantling of Sony Ericsson, the company’s 10-year mobile-phone joint venture with Sony, as well as the sale of its GPS business to Intel. He also oversaw the last dealing Ericsson had with Microsoft, where it purchased the latter’s IPTV arm, Microsoft Mediaroom, in April 2013, a move which made the company a leading player in online video distribution with a combined market share of over 25 percent.

Bloomberg estimates that Ericsson shares have risen about 19 percent under Vestberg’s leadership, while revenues are up from 206 billion kronor ($32 billion/£19.6 billion) in 2009 to an estimated 225 billion in 2013.

Microsoft’s search for a CEO had apparently been affected by a level of interference from both Steve Ballmer and founder Bill Gates, with their presence on the board (as together they own around 8 percent of the company) apparently putting off several candidates. Ballmer, who has led the company for the past 13 years, announced in August that he would retire within 12 months once a replacement is found.

Ericsson has declined to comment on the story.

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