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Who will take the helm of Microsoft?

Windows 8 was one of a number of mistakes that may have cost Steve Ballmer his job.

Windows 8 was one of a number of mistakes that may have cost Steve Ballmer his job.

Microsoft investors swooned earlier this month when the former tech giant announced that its long-time CEO, Steve Ballmer, would be retiring. His departure shook up the establishment and brought back the spark of hope that Microsoft would surge once again and its stock would closely follow.

The truth is that it's far from certain whether or not a leadership change will spur the company to new innovations and milestones, two things that Microsoft sorely needs in a market being defined by firms such as Apple, Google and Samsung. Ballmer was unable to entice consumers to Microsoft's line of smartphones and tablets, despite several mea culpas and other attempts to apologize for past mistakes. The nail in the coffin for him was certainly Windows 8, and the road ahead for the company's OS division is perhaps more uncertain than the list of potential heirs to the Microsoft throne.

According to The Motley Fool, several names seem to be on the lips of Microsoft investors. Stephen Elop, who currently heads Nokia, has been identified as a strong contender for his public support of the Windows Phone mobile operation system and the Finnish brand's adoption of the OS in 2010. Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operation officer, is another likely choice, but his untested executive skills and penchant for retail-based sales structures could put Microsoft on a potentially unstable path. Steven Sinofsky, who infamously departed the company after a rift grew between him and Ballmer, could prove to be a Steve Jobs-like resurrection choice, if given the chance.

[MSFT] has seen some increased volatility since Ballmer's exodus was announced, but it remains to be seen if the "Ballmer bump" has any lasting impact. More important to investors is a clear product and service development strategy and a sales approach that works. Will the mystery heir apparent solve the company's long-term issues? It's tough to say.

In the meantime, those who invest in Microsoft might want to consider SmartStops as a way to save them money in case the company's fortunes worsen. So far, users have saved $1.84 per share since the stock entered an Elevated Risk State earlier this month by using our risk management tools.

Categories: Stock News

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