10 Software Industry Predictions For 2014


1. Microsoft Names Unexpected CEO

Microsoft says it will pick a new CEO in early 2014, and we're saying here that the choice is going to surprise a lot of people.

For months after Steve Ballmer (pictured) announced he was leaving Microsoft in August, there were a handful of CEO candidates popularly considered to be frontrunners for the post. Ford CEO Alan Mulally appeared to have the job wrapped up until December rolled around, but then Ford's top brass indicated he would be staying. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has also been in the rumor mix, as have Microsoft insiders like Satya Nadella and Tony Bates.

But increasingly, it's looking like Microsoft is going to pick a CEO that no one is expecting. At least, that's a conclusion could be drawn by the drama that unfolded in mid-December, when Bloomberg reported that Microsoft was talking to Qualcomm COO Steve Mollenkopf, a 19-year company veteran who was second in command to CEO Paul Jacobs, and Qualcomm turned around and appointed Mollenkopf CEO the very next day.