Intriguing Bloomberg Report on Stephen Elop and Microsoft

Peter Burrows and Dina Bass, reporting for Bloomberg:

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.

Whether that’s actually a good plan for Microsoft, I don’t find all that interesting. What I do find interesting is how Bloomberg landed this story. Either (a) this is Elop’s way of tacitly leaking his “Here’s how I would run the company if I get the CEO job” plan publicly, or (b) three of Elop’s confidants have betrayed his trust. I’m going to go with (a). Not sure why he’d do that, though. If I were on Microsoft’s board, trying to decide on Ballmer’s successor, I’d look unkindly upon a candidate who leaked like this.

Also fun:

Doug Dawson, a spokesman for Nokia, declined to comment or to grant an interview with Elop.

“We appreciate Bloomberg’s foray into fiction and look forward to future episodes,” said Frank Shaw, a spokesman for Microsoft.

I really do enjoy Frank Shaw.

Friday, 8 November 2013