Elop as Microsoft chief could change Office strategy: Reports

Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who could possibly replace outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as its next chief executive officer, is not averse to focusing the company's strategy to make the popular Office software programmes like Word, Excel and PowerPoint available on a broad variety of smartphones and tablets, including those made by rivals Apple and Google.

Bloomberg quoted three people with knowledge of his thinking as saying, Elop would turn around Microsoft's strategy of using these programmes to drive demand for its flagship Windows operating system on personal computers and mobile devices.

Most of the Microsoft's software has been tied to running on Windows.

Elop who put in his papers as Nokia's CEO when the sale of Nokia's handset business to Microsoft was announced, had said he would become head of a new Microsoft devices unit responsible for hardware such as the Surface tablet and Xbox game console.

Microsoft emerged as the world's largest software provider under Ballmer and co-founder Bill Gates by making Windows-based PCs running Office applications an industry standard.

However, the company failed to make much headway in the mobile business after coming a cropper with Windows-based phones and tablets, which left it with little role in the mobile market. Its refusal to adapt Office for Apple and devices based on Google's Android operating system did not help in pushing up its software usage.

Office, which is still a huge component in Microsoft's operations, has, in the past been used to boost investment in Windows, and according to Elop, it could be used as a standalone business to drive more revenue, according to Bloomberg's sources.

However, Elop's plans could change if he was actually appointed Microsoft's next CEO, Bloomberg said.

The big question now, though, was whether Elop would become the next chief at the software giant. According to a Reuters report, earlier this week,  Elop was one of five men in the running to take overfrom Steve Ballmer, who announced earlier this year that he would step down as Microsoft's chief executive within one year (See: Steve Ballmer to end run as Microsoft CEO in a year).

According to the grapevine, Ford Motor Co CEO Alan Mullaly and Nokia's Stephen Elop are among the top contenders for the job.

According to commentators, the candidate would have to deal with the challenges the company was facing in the mobile space as well as its core operating system markets.