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Microsoft's CEO Search Reportedly Narrowing to Inside Candidates

The search for Microsoft's next CEO may end as soon as next week, with the title likely going to someone within the company, according to a report Thursday by Re/code's Kara Swisher.

Swisher's report comes after Ericsson CEO Hans Vesberg, whom Microsoft had reportedly been considering as a candidate, said he would not accept an offer from Microsoft. While some sources have told Swisher that the CEO search committee still hasn't ruled out naming an outsider to the position, the leading contender is now Satya Nadella, Microsoft's enterprise and cloud head, according to the report.

Nadella is a strong candidate, having worked in numerous groups during his two decades at the company. Nadella has also managed perhaps the most critical and profitable pieces of Microsoft's business.

Two other insiders are also still contenders, according to Swisher -- Stephen Elop, former Nokia CEO and onetime Microsoft president, and Tony Bates, who led Skype and now leads business development and OEM relationships for Microsoft.

CNBC, a Re/code partner, on Thursday morning noted two others that are still in the mix: Microsoft COO Kevin Turner and Paul Maritz, a onetime insider who later became CEO of VMware and now runs the Pivotal Software business within VMware parent company EMC. However, Maritz has previously indicated that he is not interested in the CEO position.

Several unnamed sources close to Microsoft told Swisher that the company could announce the new CEO within a week.

The CEO search is into its sixth month, and the long wait to see who will lead Microsoft is taking a toll on morale at the company, according to Swisher. Failure to name a new CEO could cast a shadow on key Microsoft events -- including SharePoint Conference, Build 2014 and TechEd 2014 -- that are kicking off in a few months and are expected to reveal the direction of the company's key offerings.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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