Rumor Has It Microsoft is Discussing a Deal with Satya Nadella to Succeed Steve Ballmer

What's quickly becoming one of the worst kept secrets in Redmond is that Microsoft is planning to promote Satya Nadella to the position of Chief Executive Officer, provided the two sides can come to terms on a contract. Nadella was always a candidate, though his name began coming up around the rumor mill a bit more frequently once candidates like Ford's Alan Mulally and Ericcson's Hans Vestberg dropped out of the running.

Citing "a person familiar with the matter," The Wall Street Journal says Microsoft is currently in negotiations with Nadella to succeed Ballmer. If things go well, it would be up to the board to finalize his coronation as Microsoft's head honcho, handing him the ultimate keys to the kingdom, the ones that open all doors.

Satya Nadella

Nadella's been with Microsoft for over two decades -- 22 years, to be precise. He currently serves as executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group where he's responsible for building and running Redmond's computing platforms, developer tools, and cloud services. Prior to joining Microsoft in 1992, he worked at Sun Microsystems.

Though his resume is impressive, Dan Fletcher, a research analyst at Neuberger Berman LLC's Large Cap Disciplined Growth tells WSJ that Nadella is viewed as a "safe pick," one who will disappoint people hoping for an outsider to come in and blaze a new trail.

Then again, power changes people, and it's difficult to predict what Nadella would do if handed the reigns. In interviews with top brass, Nadella has indicated he would lean heavily on company co-founder Bill Gates. If you're going to have a mentor, Gates isn't a bad choice.