SEATTLE Departed Windows boss Steven Sinofsky was the latest in a line of high-flying Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) executives tipped to lead the world's largest software company at some point.
Microsoft has never anointed a successor to Steve Ballmer, who took over as CEO from co-founder Bill Gates in 2000 and shows no sign of moving on. Over the past decade, speculation has centered on a number of potential candidates, but they have all left the company.
The highly successful but confrontational head of the Windows unit left abruptly this week by "mutual" agreement. He has not announced a new job.
The software guru tapped by Bill Gates to take over his role as Microsoft's big-picture thinker left to start his own project in 2010.
The head of Microsoft's Office unit, its most profitable, took the job of CEO at Finnish phone maker Nokia in 2010.
Windows and online head went to run Juniper Networks in 2008, largely taking the blame for Microsoft's failed bid to buy Yahoo.
Veteran sales and marketing leader and head of the Office unit left to join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as CEO in 2008.
One of the key powers in the early days of Windows left in 2000, eventually becoming CEO of PC virtualization firm VMware. He recently became chief strategist at EMC.
(Reporting By Bill Rigby; editing by Andrew Hay)