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Elop rises, Larson-Green falls in Microsoft CEO handicapping

Mark Hachman | Sept. 4, 2013
With Stephen Elop tapped to run Microsoft's devices division, the former Microsoft exec has jumped ahead in the pack of candidates vying to replace CEO Steve Ballmer.

Investors gave the deal mixed reviews; at 11:30 AM ET, Microsoft's stock prices was down 6.27 percent to $31.30, but Nokia's shares on thre NYSE were up 34.4 percent, to $5.24.

Elop's track record has been somewhat mixed; as chief executive of Macromedia for three months, he helped sell the company to Adobe. He then bounced to Juniper for a year, then to Microsoft's Business Division for two-and-a-half years. There, he oversaw a period of relative health, as his business consistently grew his unit's revenue and net income over his tenure. In Sept. 2010, he was named CEO of Nokia.

There, however, he was unable to prevent the phone giant's decline. In January 2011, Nokia's sales for the fourth quarter of 2010 were 12.66 million euro. By January 2013, they had fallen to 8.0 million euro. And phone sales had fallen, as well, from 123.7 million units to 86 million smart devices, with an average price of just 45 euro. Whether that was due to Nokia's dependence on Windows Phone, the rise of Android, endemic problems with Nokia, or Elop's incompetence will be up to Microsoft's executive committee to decide.

Elop does bring to the table two attributes Microsoft seems to value: he knows the business, and he has more knowledge about the phone and tablet business than most at Microsoft. But is he more valuable as the leader of Microsoft's devices business, or at the helm?


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