#stephen elop

Dina Bass and Ian King on why we didn’t see a “Surface Mini” at Microsoft “small" Surface event this week:

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and Executive Vice President Stephen Elop decided that the product in development wasn’t different enough from rivals and probably wouldn’t be a hit, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans weren’t public. Engineers had been working on the device and had planned to unveil it as early as today at an event in New York, two of the people said.

This is important. It finally seems as if Microsoft has someone in place to say the all-important word: “no.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of this. I’m still not sold on the Surface Pro 3 being the right call either, but at least it makes sense to try to market that as a full-on laptop replacement. The “Surface Mini” would have been another embarrassing flop. Good on them for realizing it before it was too late — even if it was at the last minute.

The vast majority of people do not have, nor will they ever have a personal computer. They haven’t been exposed to Windows or Office, or anything like that, and in their lives it’s unlikely that they will.
Stephen Elop, Microsoft’s new executive vice president of Devices, in the post announcing the completion of the deal to acquire Nokia. This is not your father’s Microsoft.

Peter Burrows & Dina Bass:

Stephen Elop, a candidate to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft Corp.’s chief executive officer, would consider breaking with decades of tradition by focusing the company’s strategy around making the popular Office software programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint available on a broad variety of smartphones and tablets, including those made by Apple Inc. and Google Inc., said three people with knowledge of his thinking.

Elop would probably move away from Microsoft’s strategy of using these programs to drive demand for its flagship Windows operating system on personal computers and mobile devices, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the 49-year-old executive hasn’t finalized or publicly discussed his analysis of the business. Most of Microsoft’s software has been tied to running on Windows.

More fascinating than the story is the story behind it (and the reaction to it). Is this Elop (or his camp) leaking this information in an attempt to test the waters for some bold moves if he becomes CEO? Is it Elop (or his camp) leaking it to appeal to the hedge funds pressuring Microsoft to really shake things up? Or is it someone else leaking it in an attempt to torpedo Elop’s chances of becoming CEO?

Whoa nelly. A few quick thoughts:

1) Inevitable.

2) This seems to take the drama out of the Microsoft CEO search. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (a former Microsoftie) was already widely considered a leading contender — and now Microsoft has 7.2 billion more reasons to go with him. It also seems likely he would be a good candidate to carry out the “One Microsoft” initiative that Steve Ballmer has already put in place.

3) Fairly big demotion for Julie Larson-Green following her big promotion just last year. Unless… see: #2.

4) So why not just announce Elop as the new CEO now? Because the deal won’t close until Q1 2014. The biggest potential hiccup there is Nokia shareholders approving it.

5) From a pure dollar perspective, this seems to be quite the deal from what Microsoft was rumored to be considering paying just a few years ago.

6) Though it’s not nearly as good of a deal as Apple got to bring Steve Jobs back on board — $400 million in 1996 dollars.

7) Microsoft is taking on 32,000 new employees?!

8) It’s actually a pretty decent use of overseas cash, which would otherwise be taxed if repatriated.

9) Lighting the money on fire would have also saved it from being taxed.