Microsoft up following Nadella/Gates report; Gates might stay involved

|About: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)|By:, SA News Editor

After selling off Microsoft (MSFT +1.5%) shares in response to news Alan Mulally won't replace Steve Ballmer, investors have bid them higher following a report Satya Nadella is set to receive the nod, and that Bill Gates might step down as chairman.

Analysts and pundits generally praise Nadella's technical expertise and product development skills, as well as his success at creating profitable/growing enterprise businesses. Microsoft's commercial reporting segments accounted for 65% of its gross profit during the December quarter.

At the same time, some worry Nadella won't make the kind of sweeping changes (major cost cuts, the shedding of unprofitable units) that were expected of Mulally, and have reportedly been considered by Stephen Elop.

Meanwhile, Kara Swisher reports that while Gates' resignation as chairman "seems likelier than not," he'll nonetheless remain on the board and be "spending a lot more time at the company once Nadella is approved."

She also reports Ballmer appears set to leave Microsoft's board once his current term is up.

Top investors (including ValueAct?) have reportedly been worried Gates would prevent Microsoft's next CEO from making big changes if he remains chairman.

Update: Swisher follows up by reporting Microsoft's board is set to meet this weekend, and that its CEO announcement will come next week.

Update 2: The WSJ reports Nadella has entered into CEO contract talks with Microsoft's board. The paper suggests Gates' possible resignation as chairman stems from Nadella's wish to have Gates assist him by spending "more time on technology and strategy."