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Elop could sell Xbox biz, focus on Office as Microsoft CEO -- report

That's the word from people who claim to have knowledge of Elop's line of thinking, which is still evolving as Microsoft contemplates who'll replace Steve Ballmer.

Stephen Elop
Stephen Elop

Stephen Elop has major plans in store for Microsoft if he's appointed chief executive, according to a new report.

Elop, who is resigning as Nokia's CEO and will head a new devices-focused division at Microsoft when Nokia's Devices operation is finally sold off to Microsoft, could decide to sell off the software company's Xbox division if he becomes CEO, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people who claim to have knowledge of his thinking. Elop would also consider ending Microsoft's Bing search engine.

According to Bloomberg's sources, Elop would want to shrink Microsoft's business, making it more focused on operations that he thinks could ultimately improve its standing in the marketplace.

One of the key elements of that plan will be Office, according to Bloomberg. Elop would focus Microsoft's strategy on Office and selling the platform on a host of platforms. Office, which is still a huge component in Microsoft's operatiossn, has been used in the past to boost investment in Windows. Elop believes that it can be used as a standalone business that drives more revenue, according to Bloomberg's sources.

Elop's plans could change if he's actually appointed Microsoft's next CEO, according to Bloomberg.

The big question now, though, is whether Elop will become Microsoft's next CEO. Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Elop is one of five men in the running to take over that post. Whoever gets the job will replace Steve Ballmer, who announced earlier this year that he will step down as Microsoft's chief executive within one year.