Ericsson chief, Hans Vestberg in list of potential candidates for post of Microsoft chief: Bloomberg

Software giant Microsoft's list of candidates for the top post has increased with the addition of another candidate, Ericsson chief Hans Vestberg, Bloomberg reported, quoting people "familiar with the company's plans."

Bloomberg said 48-year old Ericsson CEO Vestberg was being considered as a potential replacement for Steve Ballmer.

This comes as the first instance of Vestberg's name being linked to the Microsoft CEO's job, and comes only a few months before the firm having to make its decision, with Ballmer set to leave the company in August 2014.

Microsoft declined comment on the report, and a spokesperson for Ericsson said the company never commented on rumours and speculation.

According to commentators, while it was not clear how credible the rumours were, Vestberg could be a good fit for the job. According to Bloomberg, under Vestberg's leadership, Ericsson shares had soared 19 per cent since 2007, even as the firm's revenues increased  from 206 billion Kronor, or about $32 billion, in 2009 to an estimated 225 billion Kronor, or almost $35 billion, in 2013.

However, based on reports from last year, it seemed the list had already been whittled down after Ford CEO Alan Mulally put himself out of the race to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and internal candidate Satya Nadella, who was the head of cloud services at Microsoft.

The 48-year-old chief of the telecom equipment maker is among several candidates under consideration to fill the position, the news agency reported.

Other possible successors in the list include former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Microsoft Executive VP Tony Bates, and Microsoft cloud and enterprise chief Satya Nadella.

The 48-year old Vestberg, who had been with Ericsson for 25 years, became the Stockholm-based company's CEO in 2010 after having served as its chief operating officer from 2007 to 2009.

Under Vestberg Ericsson dismantled, Sony Ericsson, the company's 10-year mobile-phone joint venture with Sony, and went on to create a new focus on the provision of services to phone companies.

The company, concluded a deal last September for Microsoft's Mediaroom, IPTV platform business, which provides the software behind the world's leading  internet-delivered television services, such as AT&T's U-verse and Deutsche Telekom's Entertain.