IPHONE FLINGER Stephen Elop is the firm favourite to become the next Microsoft chief, with odds getting slashed after the two firms announced a major takeover deal.
On Monday evening, Microsoft announced a €5.44bn deal to purchase Nokia's device business and license its patents and maps. Odds have since fallen dramatically for ex-Microsofter Elop taking over at his previous employer when Steve Ballmer retires next year.
Last Friday, Ladbrokes sportsbook for the next Microsoft CEO was offering odds of 5/1 for Elop, but punters can now get a less attractive 2/5 on the Canadian taking over the reins. The lower odds are in light of Elop looking like more of a dead certainty for the role now that he has rejoined Microsoft.
Elop's biggest achievement recently has been jokingly throwing an iPhone across the room during an interview, garnering lots of media coverage, so no doubt he's thrilled by the opportunity to change his reputation from smartphone slinger to chair thrower in waiting.
The Nokia deal indicates Microsoft's mobile intentions, and Elop could be a savvy choice if the firm is determined to go mobile-first across the organisation. Rising sales of Windows Phone 8 on Nokia handsets indicate that Elop has the right approach for breaking into this hotly-contested market, but while Microsoft has managed to overtake Blackberry as the number three smartphone maker, Windows Phone is still far behind Android and iOS.
Ballmer also threw his weight behind an Elop appointment, telling the Seattle Times that with his move back to Microsoft, "Stephen will go from external [candidate] to internal".
Other potential Ballmer replacements have now fallen far behind Elop in the betting stakes. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who was a rank outsider last week, is presently second favourite to take on Microsoft, but she is still seen as a much less likely choice with odds at 7/1.
Former Microsoft Windows 8 executive Steve Sinofsky is now at 12/1, compared to 8/1 last week, while Kevin Turner, presently Microsoft COO and former CIO at Wal-Mart, has moved from second favourite at 6/1 to a 16/1 long shot on Tuesday.
Yahoo chief and ex-Googler Marissa Meyer, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Apple design guru Jony Ive and Apple chief Tim Cook have all been dropped from the Ladbrokes sportsbook over the weekend, as has Microsoft founder Bill Gates, even though many in the industry were touting him as the logical choice. µ