On Monday, Microsoft announced out of the blue that it has acquired Nokia’s core phone business for $7.17 billion. The deal saw Stephen Elop, Nokia’s CEO, return to Microsoft. Outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, who is set to retire within 12 months, said that Elop has gone from being an external candidate to an internal one. Since the deal was announced it has been rumored that perhaps the most coveted job at Redmond might go to Elop. People with knowledge of the matter “strongly” hint to Reuters that while Elop is a probable candidate, it’s unlikely that he might become Microsoft’s new CEO.

The source adds that this deal won’t distract the committee tasked with finding a new CEO from conducting a “thorough search” for the best possible candidate. Investors and people familiar with Microsoft’s board’s thinking believe that Elop’s track record at Nokia is “decidedly mixed,” which is probably one of the reasons why he’s not apparently a frontrunner for Ballmer’s job. During his tenure as Nokia’s CEO, the company shares fell 60 percent. He took the helm of the Finnish company back in 2010, becoming the first non-Finn to clinch the job. In its search, the board’s special committee will look at all possible external and internal candidates, no other names have surfaced so far.

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