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Someone from the mobile industry? Microsoft ponders Vestberg

Ever since Steve Ballmer announced his retirement there has been fevered speculation over who might be gunning to fill what is arguably still the most important position in the technology sector.Those who have slid in and out of the frame have included Ford CEO Alan Mulally. He was considered a long shot but after a bit of “is he/isn’t he?” he formally ruled himself out of contention.

Then there was Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf, also an apparent contender until he was named as the successor to Qualcomm chief, Paul Jacobs.

Also oft-mentioned is Steven Elop, the man who fashioned a pig’s ear out of a silk purse in Finland by mismanaging Nokia and then helping to hand it over to what was his old and now new employer. It would be ironic indeed if Elop ended up at the top of Microsoft managing Nokia’s smartphone division.

Also mentioned in dispatches from Redmond as likely candidates: Microsoft EVP, Tony Bates and Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Turner.

But that’s just a few tidbits. Those “people close to the situation” beloved of Bloomberg reporters say there may be over 100 people in a long-list of candidates and they’re all being worked through,

Hans Vestberg is just the latest name to be offered. He does seem to have a great track record in technology company management. Under his rein at Ericsson the share price has risen 19 per cent - not bad considering the notoriously difficult infrastructure market we’ve had for the past few years.

He got rid of the Sony Ericsson boat anchor and he bought in Microsoft’s Mediaroom Division, at one point seen by Microsoft as a hugely strategic play.

Vestberg has managed bits of Ericsson all over the world, including the US so he’s no stranger to US business culture. Could he be the one?

Not long to wait. Microsoft hopes to have finished the selection process early 2014.

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