Microsoft is in the market for a new CEO within the next year and while running a technology leader may be appealing the new captain may have a tougher time than outgoing chief Steve Ballmer.
On Friday, Microsoft surprised the tech industry by announcing that Ballmer was going to retire in a planned transition. Ballmer was a lightning rod, but the real shock was that he was stepping down—especially as Microsoft just set itself up to be a services and devices company.
We have a short list of potential Ballmer successors and you can nitpick over Microsoft’s product choices all you want. But here’s the reality: Microsoft’s job isn’t getting any easier. The tech giant is sprawling and it’s unclear whether it can compete with Google, Apple and Amazon—three companies with more focused businesses.