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Microsoft's next CEO? Place your bets

Thursday 29 Aug 2013 12:51 p.m.

Steve Ballmer (Reuters)

Steve Ballmer (Reuters)

UK bookies are taking bets on who will be the next CEO of Microsoft.

Last week current CEO Steve Ballmer, who has led the company since 2000, announced he would retire from the role sometime in the next 12 months.

Ballmer's reign has been a rocky one, finding success with Windows XP and 7, but hitting speed bumps with Windows Vista, the Zune music player and the company's failure to anticipate Apple's wildly successful iPhone and iPad range.

"There is always interest in high-profile CEO vacancies and we feel that offering the odds gives our view of the likelihood of the chances various contenders have," says Alex Donohue of bookmaker Ladbrokes.

"We often take bets on things like this, under the umbrella of 'novelty betting'. It's not something we will take vast sums of money on at all, with the average stake less than £10."

Current Nokia chief executive is the frontrunner, paying odds of 5/1. He used to work for Microsoft, spending two years in charge of its Office range, reports Computerworld.

Microsoft chief operating officer is Ladbrokes' second favourite, paying 6/1. Executive vice-president Julie Larson-Green is listed at 8/1, as is former Windows division president Steven Sinofsky.

But its Ladbrokes' picks from outside the company that have raised eyebrows. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is given a 16/1 chance,  Yahoo's Marissa Meyer 33/1 and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg 40/1.

Two big names at Apple have also been listed – designer Sir Jony Ives at 40/1 and CEO Tim Cook, who took over from the late Steve Jobs, at 100/1.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who these days concentrates on philanthropy, is paying 50/1.

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