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Qualcomm Will Elevate COO Steve Mollenkopf To CEO Role In March, So Hands Off, Microsoft

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Qualcomm will replace current CEO Paul Jacobs with current COO Steve Mollenkopf starting on March 4, immediately following the company’s annual shareholder meeting. This announcement comes only seven and half hours after a report from Bloomberg suggested Microsoft was considering Mollenkopf for the CEO role at its own company.

Maybe Mollenkopf’s camp at Qualcomm leaked that report as the final push needed to convince the chip-maker to sign on the dotted line and retain him for their team, but whatever the circumstances behind the scenes, it seems very unlikely the two reports are coincidentally timed. Mollenkopf is just the latest executive to be snatched from Microsoft’s short list: Ford CEO Alan Mulally seems happy to stay where he is at least through next year, although a report from Thursday suggests the Ford board of directors wants some reassurance on that front.

Mollenkopf is likely in demand because he’s been a key player in helping Qualcomm rise to dominate the mobile industry. Mobile is an area where Microsoft has not done very well, which has led some to question its relevance given the general shift in computing, so Mollenkopf would make sense as a short list candidate to help Redmond right the ship.

Microsoft’s short list is dwindling, with some candidates reported falling out of favor with the company itself, including former Nokia boss Stephen Elop, and others like Mollenkopf being snatched from their grip. At this rate, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise chief Satya Nadella, also a short-lister, might just get the nod by default.

Photo courtesy Fortune Live Media on Flickr.