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Succession Planning Case Study

Case Title:

Exit of Bill Gates: Future of Microsoft

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: M Sinha and J Babu

Industry: Information Technology and IT Enabled Services


Case Code: SUP0016IRC

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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The case is set during the leadership transition phase of Microsoft, the world's largest software company. On 15 June 2006, Microsoft announced that, with effect from 27 June 2008, Gates will transition out of a day-to-day role in the company to spend more time with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The two-year transition process was to ensure that there was a smooth and orderly transfer of Gates' responsibilities. During that phase, the company faced several issues like Vista's unimpressive launch, the company's failed endeavour to purchase Yahoo and increasing rivalry with Google in the Internet search business. The main focus of the case is succession planning. It highlights how Gates had groomed his colleague Ballmer, to tackle those challenges after his exit. He also developed a strong technical team that would continue the company's research and innovation in the future.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To analyse the key success factors of Microsoft under Gates.
  • To discuss the approach taken towards Microsoft's CEO succession.
  • To highlight the challenges ahead for Ballmer after Gates' exit.

Keywords :  Microsoft, Bill Gates, Ballmer, Transition, Leadership, Windows, Software, PC revolution, Google, Yahoo, Succession planning, Vision, Future plans

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