Who do you want to replace Steve Ballmer? Tech fugitive John McAfee, apparently
When Steve Ballmer announced his intention to stand down as head of Microsoft, we started a poll to see who our readers would like to see in his place. The answer surprised us.
The unexpected favourite to head up the world’s leading software company and business technology leader, as voted by TechWeekEurope readers, is none other than charismatic tech fugitive John McAfee, founder of the IT security firm that still bears his name, who just recently was wanted in connection with murder in Belize.
Are you serious?
Ballmer’s departure was revealed shortly after he had announced a major restructuring of the company with an increased emphasis on hardware, and just before the firm announced it would be buying Nokia’s mobile phone business.
The Nokia deal – which must still gain approval from various interested parties – has thrust Stephen Elop into the frame as the contender for Ballmer’s soon-to-be-vacant chair. Once a senior Microsoft executive, in charge of the business division and handling Microsoft Office, he became Nokia’s CEO and moved Nokia onto Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS, laying off thousands as the once-popular Symbian operating system was allowed to die.
Bill Gates was an early front runner. Microsoft’s co-founder and its most iconic and successful leader, his return would be a dream come true for those who want to see a fairy-tale ending, and who remember the good work done at Apple and Dell by their returning founders Steve Jobs and Michael Dell. Even though he saw Nokia’s smartphone share shrink from 35 percent down to around three percent, we had expected Elop to make a good showing, but his 11.5 percent vote left him well behind two significant leaders.
We provided a full and varied list of possible leaders, and one of the outsiders made a dash for the finish line. John McAfee has nothing more to do with the firm that bears his name (apart from posting highly critical YouTube videos about it). He lived an extravagant life in Belize, but went on the run after Belize police wanted to question him about the fatal shooting of his neighbour.
Eventually, he was deported from Guatemala to the United States where he now resides.
McAfee’s victory in our poll also eclipsed other potential or unlikely candidates, including Alan Sugar of The Apprentice, former Microsoft CTO and Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, all of whom scored five percent of the vote or less.
Mr McAfee has not indicated whether he would be willing to serve, if approached by Microsoft.
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