James Dennin, Kapitall: As the Xbox One launches, we built a list stocks connected to potential replacements for the Microsoft CEO. The Xbox One is already sold out in many retail outlets. And last night to drum up hype (as if a ten year wait wasn't enough), Microsoft (MSFT) took over Times Square in New York City. All the launch titles were available for avid gamers to sample before buying – and gladiators and zombies alike were on hand. Read more from Kapitall: Is Xbox One a Catalyst to Consider after Ballmer Retires from Microsoft? So it seems, for now, that a successful launch of its new console is all but assured. Microsoft is trading up modestly at 0.35% as of 12:25; although the considerable build-up and the rarity of new console launches gave the market plenty of time to factor in the hype. Perhaps even more interesting to ponder than whether people will buy the new Xbox (they are); is what's next for the company. The gaming division in its own right isn't that profitable, and there are rumors that Microsoft is even in the market to sell it. A lot is riding on who Microsoft's board will choose as as the replacement for CEO Steve Ballmer – as it will be up to that person to choose a new direction for the company in an age where mobile seems to be the future. Rumors have been swirling about who is actually on the shortlist – which is said to have had as many as 40 names on it at one point. The names run from prominent insiders and alumni like Skype leader Tony Bates and the Nokia (NOK) chief Stephen Elop – to more surprising outsiders, like Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook (FB) and even Alan Mulally of Ford (F). Will Microsoft play it safe and promote from with in, or use an outsider to try and shake things up? And how will the decision impact these stocks?
Click on the interactive chart to view analyst ratings for these stocks over time.Do you see investing opportunities based on the launch of Xbox One and Microsoft's next CEO? Use the list below as a starting point for your own analysis. 1. Juniper Networks, Inc. ( JNPR): Designs, develops, and sells products and services that provide network infrastructure for the deployment of services and applications over a single network. Market cap at $9.73B, most recent closing price at $19.40. After leaving Microsoft to go run Juniper, Kevin Johnson has emerged as a possible candidate if Microsoft wants to go in a more innovative direction.
2. Nokia Corporation ( NOK): Provides Internet and digital mapping and navigation services worldwide. Market cap at $28.96B, most recent closing price at $7.80. Stephen Elop, the head of Nokia, has long been seen as a likely candidate.
3. Cisco Systems, Inc. ( CSCO): Designs, manufactures, and sells Internet protocol (IP)-based networking and other products related to IT. Market cap at $115.2B, most recent closing price at $21.42. Tony Bates, who runs Skype and also worked at Cisco, is rumored to be one of the top candidates from inside Microsoft for the spot.
4. Google Inc. ( GOOG): The world's most popular search engine. Market cap at $342.02B, most recent closing price at $1025.20. Vic Gundotra irked Microsoft insiders when he left to go run Google Plus. However his name is rumored to be on the shortlist as well.
5. Hewlett-Packard Company ( HPQ): Hewlett-Packard Company offers various products, technologies, software, solutions, and services to individual consumers, businesses and government, health, and education sectors worldwide. Market cap at $48.21B, most recent closing price at $24.99. Another powerful alumni who left Microsoft to run HP, Bill Veghte is seen as a possibility as well.
6. Facebook, Inc. ( FB):Operates as an integrated social networking company worldwide. Market cap at $112.65B, most recent closing price at $46.36.Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook would be a bold choice, and she would certainly be an outsider. But her name hasn't really been in the running since the summer.
7. Ford Motor Co. ( F): Develops, manufactures, distributes, and services vehicles and parts worldwide. Market cap at $66.5B, most recent closing price at $16.87. Another of the top candidates, and rumored to be on an unconfirmed 5-person shortlist, is the Ford executive Alan Mulally. ( List compiled by James Dennin, a Kapitall Writer. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research, all other data sourced from Finviz.)