In Pictures: Top 6 Microsoft insider CEO candidates

There are at least six internal candidates to replace retiring Steve Ballmer

  • Who will succeed Chief Executive Steve Ballmer? Despite speculation that an outsider will likely fill the role, there are a bunch of folks from inside Redmond that could do the job as well. Here we have a collection from Reuters of insider who might get the job.

  • Former Skype CEO Tony Bates is executive vice president of Microsoft’s Business Development and Evangelism group, responsible for the company's relationships with key OEMs, strategic innovation partners, independent software vendors and developers. He also leads Microsoft’s corporate strategy team.

  • Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows phone division. Myerson has authority over not just Windows Phone but also Windows 8, which could help advance Microsoft’s goal of making it easier to write applications that run on both platforms. He is also in charge of operating systems for Xbox.

  • Windows' Corporate Vice President and Programs management Julie Larson-Green. She heads up Microsoft hardware programs and development of games.

  • Eric Rudder, chief technical strategy officer for Microsoft. He is responsible for the company’s overall technical strategy, technology policy and forward-looking development efforts. He oversees Microsoft Research, one of the world's premier computer science research organizations, as well as the company’s Trustworthy Computing group, Technology Policy group, Startup Business group, and the Strategic Software and Silicon Architectures team.

  • Jeff Raikes was the president of Microsoft Business Division until he retired in 2008. Raikes in fact was replaced by Stephen Elop (see more in last slide). Raikes is now chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner. Turner leads the company’s global sales, marketing and services organization of more than 47,000 employees in more than 190 countries.

  • OK this one isn’t internal – YET. Microsoft today said it would acquire Nokia's Devices & Services business, which includes the smartphone and mobile phones businesses. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who in 2010 was the Microsoft exec in charge of its Business Division, will be coming back to Microsoft and lead an expanded devices team. Here Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (R) introduce new Nokia phones with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system at an event in New York, from 2012.

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