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Reality Check: 3 Big-Name Ballmer Replacement Candidates

Gates, Elop and Sinofsky have all been floated out as possibilities. We look at why they might or might not happen.

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Bill Gates

Top 11 Stocks for 2011Microsoft’s board has to be dreaming of the Apple (AAPL) story. A PC pioneer that’s in big trouble throws a Hail Mary move and brings back its glorious co-founder who reinvigorates the company, and sends the core PC product to the sideline as it conquers new markets. Meanwhile, the stock goes ballistic.

Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and former CEO, technically still is with the company, but in a part-time, largely advisory role as chairman. For all intents and purposes, he retired from day-to-day Microsoft involvement in 2008 to focus on his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Having Bill Gates return to take the helm of Microsoft — even if it was only for a defined term of several years while a successor was groomed — would be a huge boost to company morale and likely to provide at least a short-term surge in MSFT as investors and employees alike hoped for an Apple-like second act for Microsoft.

Reality Check: This seems unlikely. Gates is one of the world’s wealthiest people. He already brought his company to the pinnacle, and it’s not exactly on the verge of disappearing today,just stagnating or slowly declining. And unlike Jobs, he wasn’t pushed out — he left. He’s completely dedicated to running his foundation and enjoying time with his family. In short, he has nothing to prove by returning, no pressing financial need to do so and his company is not in need of immediate rescue. Count Gates out.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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