Steve Ballmer. Candidates. And Microsoft.

You must have read a lot about it – Steve Ballmer is out of Microsoft in 12 months. Why? Well, just simply time to pass the baton as after years of a wonderful ride, the train is just not really churning anymore. And who will succeed him as CEO? Many has their own candidates that includes insiders and outsiders alike.

Anyway, since Microsoft’s inception back in 1975, Ballmer was only the second person to head this giant tech company – the first being Bill Gates, of course – so, choosing the next one would be tough for Microsoft. And this is simply because they seem unprepared for a leadership transition, I’ll tell you as we go along.

Yet, what does it take to be the Chief Executive of Microsoft?

Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

First, Microsoft is known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and its Microsoft Office software. And though it also has Zune, Xbox, MSN, and the Bing search engine – the onslaught of competition from Apple and Google has gotten their iconic position overwhelmed.

Yes, Steve Ballmer was with the company on its rise to “superstardom” in the 90s – but he has not quite fared well as Microsoft’s boss. One example? Global market shares of operating systems: 96% around 2000, 35% by 2012. The organization simply failed to evolve with the times. Hmm… yet, Ballmer lasted this long? This is why Microsoft is unprepared for leadership change. Well, give credit to Ballmer for being able to tame the board.

Still, before truly leaving the company, he has now been trying to set up the transition of Microsoft into mobile computing and cloud-based services. Yes, it’s good to care about the shift but then – if it wants to regain its former glory, don’t you think that design is bit late?

Continuing with the plan would only make the company play catch-up, leaving it with just spoils from leading competitors. But the trend? Okay, you could instill the scheme but don’t put your hopes too high on that move alone; instead, have it this way: you just had to go with the flow as a prelude to sprinting ahead with brighter ideas and more futuristic products and services.

This is the kind of mentality the next Microsoft CEO should have – Cunning. And that you would not really get from insiders. Why? Because they could have already done something while all those missteps were transpiring – but they didn’t.

What about “outsiders”? Well, it would be a better choice if… if the successor were not to come from an all too familiar company. Meaning – consider candidates from lesser known organizations but those in touch with the public, this will give your organization a different perspective on how to do things as consumers would like it and more. Consequently, candidates from well-known firms are mostly boxed that they could only bring in “trade secrets” to copy and not real creativity to move ahead.

In the end, August 23rd was a good day for everybody. Ballmer got richer. Candidates gets their chance. And Microsoft? Anything is now possible.

What’s your take?